As I described in last Friday’s post, we recently spent three days in the Smoky Mountains with our oldest grandchild, Allie, who is in her final semester of high school. The goal was quality time, so we did everything possible to achieve it.
On Saturday night, while keeping logs on the fire, watching a movie and eating S’mores, we devised a plan for Sunday morning. We settled on each of us having extended individual quiet times and then listening to one of her Uncle Matt’s sermons via his church’s website. All members of the Pearson clan are accustomed to getting up on Sunday morning and heading out to our various churches for Bible study and worship, but we were away from our normal routine. Isn’t that what we generally face when we’re on vacation?
Steve and I were fine with the plan until Allie emerged from her room on Sunday morning with her hair fixed cute, her make-up applied and wearing a pretty dress. When we commented about how nice she looked, she said, “Well, it IS Sunday morning.” Yes, indeed.
That did it. We needed to find a church service and go to worship together. We googled First Baptist Gatlinburg, FBC Pigeon Forge and FBC Sevierville. After factoring in distance, service times, descriptions of worship styles and plans for later in the afternoon, we decided to attend the 11:00 service at FBC Sevierville. It proved to be a great choice.
First of all, FBC Sevierville has a well-conceived and implemented plan for first time guests. The signs instructed us to put our flasher lights on. It was raining, but when Steve stopped to let Allie and me out near the entrance, a greeter with a huge umbrella was johnny-on-the-spot and escorted us all the way to the door. He may have gotten wet, but he made sure we did NOT.
Inside the door, we were greeted warmly, our questions were answered, and we received a nice guest bag. Seats in an unembarrassing place (a.k.a. not on the front pews) were available, and we slipped in as the music began.
Oh, the music. That, of course, is my heart language — especially sacred praise and worship music that is sung and played in an excellent way. An orchestra with at least 25 instruments was on stage in front of a choir of about 50 singers. The selections were a mixture of traditional with more recent songs, and the choir sang a stunningly beautiful arrangement of “How Great Thou Art.” I couldn’t help it. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
The preacher’s message focused on the words “ALL” in Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make straight your paths.
It was a great passage for two retirees and a high school senior to hear AGAIN. You have to believe God had orchestrated our steps that morning.
After the closing prayer, a pipe organ with a skillful organist at the bench cranked out a spirited, classical postlude. Yes, I said a PIPE ORGAN! When was the last time I had heard one? Was it when I got to play one every Sunday at Central Baptist in Decatur? Those sounds might not have meant much to Steve or to Allie, but they meant the world to me. It was as if God was letting me know He saw me and wanted to meet with me that morning.
If Allie hadn’t packed her pretty dress . . . If Allie hadn’t said, “Well, it IS Sunday morning” . . . . We would have missed it. I would have missed it.
Extended quiet times would have been great. Hearing Matt preach via the computer would have been great. But, I thank God for allowing Allie, because of her lifetime of habits, to nudge us toward corporate worship that Sunday morning.