Another American Tradition Followed at Sunday Morning Worship

We went to the East Side church of Christ Wednesday evening, and we went back to the same place this morning. We have decided to go out to Choctaw for Sunday evening worship this evening. Choctaw is where I was baptized. However, this morning, since the people we are staying with are members of the East Side church of Christ, we went over there again this morning. We understand that many things the church does are traditions because we have traveled so much. Sunday worship isn’t a tradition, but other things they did today are.

First, we were greeted by an old man at the front door giving out candy, then went to Bible class before worship. Many churches around the world have Bible classes before worship on Sundays. They insisted that my daughter and I had to go to different classes. Initially, we just both went into an adult Bible class, but someone came and got my daughter and took her to a young professional’s Bible class. In the adult Bible class, they were talking about the last week in the life of Christ. The ladies sitting behind me had been in Japan and knew my friend, Jim Batten, who lives in Japan. The lady sitting in front of me used to be a student at the same university I graduated from. I used to be in an acting troupe that put on plays with Christian messages, and she knew all about the acting troupe.

There are many more sections than this, and all the sections were filled with people today.

After that, we went into the auditorium, and it was huge and full of people. They had the songs on the board in the front as well as song books in the pews if we wanted to use them. There was a grandmother with children sitting on one side of me. A really cute little girl about 2 years old with dark curly hair and a pretty dress with ruffles came up to me and put her arms up to me like she wanted me to pick her up, so I did. She sat on my lap and put a heart sticker on the front of my dress, and then motioned that she wanted down. The man who preached was the uncle of my friend, Cindy, who was a missionary in Brasov Romania when I lived in Romania. At the end of the sermon, they did the tradition.

They offered an invitation song. In America, at the end of the sermon, the church sings a song that compels people to go to God. If someone wants to be baptized, wants to say they have come from another church, but wants to worship at that church (place membership), if someone thinks they have done something wrong and wants the church to pray for their forgiveness, if someone wants prayers for strength, etc. Whatever the need, the song is an invitation for people to walk to the front and tell the preacher what their specific need is, and then the church takes care of it. This morning, a woman went forward. Her need was that she hadn’t been coming to church and she has been fighting with her husband. She wanted the church to know she is coming back, and she wanted prayers for strength to do the right thing when it comes to her husband.

This is a picture that was on the wall.

After the church prayed, Dale Hartman got up and introduced my daughter and I to the church. What he said about me was really funny. He listed off all the countries I have lived in, and then he said, “If you want to speak to her in Korean, you may. If you want to speak to her in Japanese, you can do that too. You can even have a conversation with her in Romanian. You can talk to her in Spanish too, and if you haven’t found a language among one of those that you can talk to her in, she speaks English fluently too.” After that, the services were finished. Everyone wanted to talk to us after we had been introduced. A woman offered to sell us her house, and if my daughter gets the job she wants on Tuesday, she may call the lady up and go see the house. They said they have a visitor’s luncheon scheduled for next week, and several people invited us to come back and join them at their visitor’s luncheon.

The Hartmans had a family birthday party to attend after church, so my daughter and I drove to Sonic and had lunch again. After that, we went to the grocery store and bought a few groceries and went on home.

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