Coming Together in God’s Presence
By Sara Vale, Council Chair and Synod Communicator for All Saints, Mt. Pleasant
On Wed Jan 27 a beautiful spiritually rich event occurred in Mt. Pleasant. All Saints Lutheran Church and Greater Goodwill AME Church came together in the sanctuary of the latter for a joint worship service. To say our Triune God was surely present is an understatement.
A small loosely formed planning committee from both churches tentatively put the date on the calendar and prayed for God to bless this first endeavor in forging relationships in a new way in our community. Much of the inspiration came from the woundedness we all felt after the Mother Emmanuel slayings last June in Charleston.
As I sat in the mass choir with my new African-American sisters on either side of me, I was overwhelmed with the thought “this is so right and needed and thank God I am here in this place this evening.”
The praise dancers performed beautiful young girls offering interpretive dance to a contemporary Christian song. Scripture readings by two of their elders and myself followed. Mine was from 1 Corinthians and as I read “many parts but one body” I was filled with the Spirit of how true that was as I looked at the two races looking up at me. We are truly one body of God ‘s beloved children.
Pastor Ray Mohrmann’s sermon was powerful, and many verbal Amens and murmurings reinforced his message. Our All Saints members were experiencing a new vocal, energized form of worship and it was inspirational. Throughout we sang old hymns near and dear to us all like “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” The choir sang “How Great is our God” by Chris Tomlinson and we sang it over and over. It became a catalyst of how very present the Holy Spirit was in this place in each of us. The fellowship hour at the end showed the one-on-one beginnings of friendship. It was new, and maybe at times awkward, with the newness and shyness that some of us carry into new experiences. However, it was all good. So very good.
This joint gathering will happen again because we feel God’s call to do so- hopefully quarterly.
To God be the Glory. And they all cried out AMEN.
This article has been reprinted from March-April 2016 edition of The South Carolina Lutheran magazine. Subscriptions to the magazine are $10.00 for 6 issues annually. To subscribe send your name, address and check made payable to the “South Carolina Synod, ELCA” to 1003 Richland Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
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