Me: "Well it's Sunday so we are going to go to church. Then we'll make a great big breakfast and after breakfast throw the kayaks in the water."
Child: "What?! It's vacation, what do you mean we're going to church I want to go swimming!"
Me: "We'll go swimming after worship but our lives are centered around God and we don't take a vacation from God."
I don't mean to sound overly pious but it's true that our family has made the decision that if our lives are to be centered around the grace of Jesus Christ then this centeredness is not something from which we can take a vacation. And so we arrived at Fife Lake United Methodist Church right on time, at 8:55 and were greeted boisterously by the man inside the front door. While on time we were the last to arrive and his heartfelt greeting certainly drew the attention of the entire congregation. (Note to self; it's hard to be a visitor). The church was well attended; a testimony both to a strong congregation and the luck of being the only visible protestant church in town. We sat in the third row from the front, not because we are those people rather because that was the only empty pew that could hold all 7 members of the Weiler Clan. To our delight and that of the kids we sat right behind the Children's Sunday School teacher who promptly invited all three to join her downstairs for the children's church.
Worship was a great experience, very small town Untied Methodist, felt a lot like the Adamsville church where I was raised. I was proud that morning of The United Methodist Church for receiving us well and for maintaining a liturgy and sense of community that made space for the newcomers. When worship was over as I said to the kids with a smirk and a sarcastic tone,
"Boy that the awful we should have never come."
To which the replied, "What?! It was great!" And then proudly they showed me all the did and learned.
Later that afternoon after worship we threw the kayaks in the water and we splashed and swam and made fools of ourselves trying to get back into the kayaks much to the amusement to the folks lounging in their pontoon boat. We stayed up late and made smore's with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and then camped out in the back yard. At the center of it all; the camp-out, the smore's, the swimming, there was worship of the God who holds all things together in a community who remind us that in all things, even vacations, we are part of something outside of a bigger than ourselves. Somehow the experience of Sabbath, Holy Rest, just felt more complete with 1 hour of worship in the middle of it all. Hopefully next year the conversation will sound more like,
Child: "Hey it's Sunday morning let's go to church!"