I have not been in church for several Sundays.
The main reason is a July trip to Alaska – an extraordinarily beautiful, different and exceptional place unlike any place I have ever seen.
There is something spiritual and affecting about being in the natural world and experiencing God’s extraordinary creation.
There is something magisterial about looking at the face of a glacier, seeing the playfulness of sea lions, observing the grandeur of the bald eagle and sheer wonder and excitement of seeing a pod of orcas.
The experience makes you feel small, infinite and incidental, but evoke a deeper appreciation for a need to preserve and protect the environment.
The trip offered a chance to experience the world before it was occupied, mined, harvested or invaded by tourists … like myself.
Many of the communities located on the inner passage way or accessible only by boat or plane. The cars are few and low mileage.
You come to look at the world in a different way.
I found this T-shirt: THE FAMILY THAT PREYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER.
Our church is a long and enduring family – a family of believers – that itself once occupied the vast, unsettled plains on the western edge of European civilization.
To the west was a vast inland – a prairie full of buffalo, tall grass and the promise of a land yet to be settled and occupied.
Our church was founded by early pioneers.
We are now a downtown church in an inner-ring suburb of a major metropolitan area centrally located in the continental United States.
This church, which recently celebrated its birthday, was founded in 1835.
In Alaska, I saw a Russian Orthodox Cathedral which was constructed in 1844 in Sitka which was the capital of the Russian presence in North America.
The cathedral survived a major fire in 1966 and a small handful of congregants continue to worship today.
But the lingering question is:
Can the church and its beautiful incense filled sanctuary gold-framed Russian iconography survive?
Things change … for the St. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka; equally for the faithful of First Christian Church who gather at 125 S. Pleasant in Independence, Mo.
We are facing important decisions involving our church. Please participate.
And this I know.
It will be important for us to pray together, in order to stay together.
We will now receive our tithes and offering.
Brent Schondelmeyer, July 22, 2018