1039. Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan. ~Albert Schweitzer

Oh to relive
those Old Sundays,
those sacred things…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

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My faith journey began long ago at a time when I was young enough that all I knew was unmarred innocence, youthful unawareness, and blind acceptance of what I’d been told and taught. In handmade, starched and often white organdy dresses and on feet in meticulously polished white shoes I’d enter with my family, as I’d been taught, solemnly and quietly into church buildings with their tall steeples and large, sonorous bells that called the masses to worship. Inside there was the unmistakable aroma of old wooden pews, time-worn Bibles, and tattered hymnals that spoke of countless others who had come before us to worship. And because it was a time of greater formality, we were greeted at the doors by ushers in dark suits wearing white carnations in their lapels; these men and/or women would hand us freshly printed programs as they led us down the aisle to a pew with red velvet cushions, cushions that had seen many a day and been sat on by a multitude of churchgoers. Somewhere along the way to our seats, I would encounter an image of the Christ who was portrayed as a man with soft brown hair and a sweet face. When all who had heeded the call to worship were seated, the acolytes would march in under gothic arches carrying state and national flags in the glow of blue, red, green, and yellow light streaming through the stained-glass windows. On their heels came the choir and the robed pastoral staff. Once everyone was in place, choral voices led us in songs before we were implored to make affirmations of faith and recite the Lord’s prayer. Then came the giving of tithes in gold offertory plates, before we drank from silver chalices filled with the “Blood of Christ” and took from a silver plate the bread wafer that symbolized the “Body of Christ.” All the while these sacred things were taking place, a large pipe organ played softly in the background behind flickering candles and pretty flowers on altars covered in sacramental cloths. Finally by the time all was said and done within the hallowed gray, stone walls, we had sung a number of old familiar hymns, shouted amens, listened to a tutorial sermon, bowed our heads for the holy benedictions, read words of Scripture, raised our arms and voices in praise, and prayed for friends and neighbors as well as the hungry and the needy. And all of it was fervently carried out in hopes that God, was then and would always be with us, listen to our pleas, and answer our prayers.

Sadly at a church after we moved here I witnessed such widespread hypocrisy and intolerant prejudice by clergy and church members alike that I stopped going to church and turned away from Lord and His teachings at the age of 19.  However, the Good Shepherd would not let go of that which was rightfully His and so He pursued me for the next two decades as He does all of His wandering and lost “sheep” until one day I turned to listen to His voice again. Soon afterwards I chose to walk back into a church, and fortunately it was one where sincere sanctity appeared to be palpable and devout holiness seemed to permeate all that and who had gathered to honor and consecrate the Almighty, the Holy Spirit, and the Christ. It felt like home and I knew I was home. As sentient beings, everything we encounter evokes some kind of emotional response from us which affects both flesh and psyche. So powerful and evocative are such experiences sometimes that there have been people who are healed of life-threatening diseases by constantly picturing themselves in times and places of the past wherein they were happy and well and sensed the presence of the Almighty.

Experience life in all possible ways –
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter.
Experience all the dualities.
Don’t be afraid of experience,
because the more experience you have,
the more mature you become.
~Osho

The sacred pathway is
not hard, children
know it…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

…if I(Paul) am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. ~1 Timothy 3:15-16  ✝

**All but one image via Pinterest; collage by Natalie, and one photo of Natalie

29 thoughts on “1039. Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan. ~Albert Schweitzer

  1. Your post took me back to pretty dresses, hats, gloves and a day spent with family. Yes, the “religion” part doesn’t keep one in church, but our Shepherd, the Lover of our souls, continues to seek and desire an intimate relationship with Him:) The memories of the time are special and sweet, but Oh, to taste, and see (and now know) the Lord is good:) Wonderful pictures Natalie!

    Liked by 3 people

    • PS. We are called to go to church however not just to worship but also to study Scripture and support other believers and encourage new ones. It wasn’t God or His church that had failed me back then, but the erroneous behavior and beliefs of the people. And that’s why we must go and study and learn to change such things and our hearts for the better. It’s God’s classroom and therein we learn how to best be His people as we go out into the wayward world each week.

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      • Amen Natalie! I SO enjoy going to church now that I am in the Word. I have a fellow pilgrim and sister in Christ, who weekly we have been blessed with an anointed Pastor/Teacher/Shepherd. In Israel, wherever you are located in the land, when they would go to Jerusalem, it says, they “go up” to Jerusalem. Now, not under law to go to one place to worship, but under grace to hear the Word and worship. We drive 30 miles to sit under the anointing. On Sundays, we check with each other on our meeting place, etc…we are delighted to say, “we’re going up!’ to Church. We don’t have to go, we GET to go up! Although weather has prevented us at times from making the travel, we are SO encouraged and built up in Him Who loves us, it spreads all over the place:) Nevertheless, even if we don’t have the opportunity to “go up”, staying in the Word and Bible study is the only key to getting to know more about Jesus, and walking in His power here on earth. God bless you neighbor, friend, and sister in Christ:) His good news of the Gospel continues; beginning in Jerusalem to all around nations of the world! In Jesus Name, Amen! :):):)

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    • I did and I loved it. Thank you so much, sweet, sweet Robin. We got to see pictures of the house they put a bid on this weekend, and James seems to be handling it so much better now. So I’m greatly relieved. I know that all will work out well. Thanks for your prayers and encouraging words. 🙂 ❤

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  2. I forgot to say, I loved wearing a dress, ruffled socjs, white gloves and a hat to church but in the 60’s, our Episcopal Church didn’t mind if we didn’t wear gloves or hats as children. My only special times we got all “decked out” were on religious holidays. I still wore dresses for years until I graduated high school. Only on Fridays in high school were we allowed to wear jeans to school. In church after that, I wore pants or slacks with nice blouses. I liked this trip down memory lane with your precious and pretty pictures. I liked that you admitted that church doesn’t make people better. I still have people from the church I married my last husband (13 years of being controlled by a rather unloving “Christian.”) who ask me why we broke up or why I left a “good” man. This hurts because by their asking, they are questioning me and I don’t want to answer “why?” They can continue to let me take the blame but it is a form of judgment. I go to where I started in Delaware, a Presbyterian Church who only say they miss me I’d I don’t attend. You are a source of comfort when it comes to faith, Natalie. ♡

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    • When I was in public school and college we couldn’t wear anything but dresses, and it was the same when I first started teaching. I hate it when people makes judgments of any kind especially when they no nothing about what they are judging.
      I’m sorry they treated you that way. There is no excuse for it and the Bible plainly say “judge not lest ye be judged.” May it never happen to either of us again. Love you, N 🙂 ❤

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  3. I remember ‘Sunday best’ Natalie. I also remember drifting from God – once due to a church situation. God didn’t allow me to wander far for too long and He used our eldest, who was three years old at the time, to draw us back to Him. Blessings, David

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    • And oh David, it was so hard for me to keep from getting my clothes all wrinkled before we left for church. Mom and worked so hard ironing everything and then polishing the shoes, and I just didn’t fit her idea of being lady-like always. I was just a kid after all. Oh well. I hate it when we are driven away from the church by people. I’m so glad the Lord went after you as well and that it took you less time to draw near Him again. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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  4. I remember those days as a chile. I loved going to church with my family. I felt such a closeness to God and as a teen I taught Sunday School. Guess life just got in the way of going and soon will be going back. My son is going to a bikers church and he has nothing but nice things to say about it and the people there, so will check it out for myself. Thank you for sharing your journey, it is a very lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess lots of folks drift away at one time or the other. We haven’t been good about going lately either, but we at least listen to the pastor’s sermon on the internet on the Sunday’s we don’t go.
      You are so welcome and I’m glad you enjoyed my story. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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  5. This is such a moving post.

    Assembling with other believers is an important privilege. We need the support of other believers. I am thankful that it takes place in so many different settings that meet the needs of so many types of Christians…may they be those huge mega churches, or tiny little house churches and fellowships.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Love and Blessings,
    Theresa

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was afraid people would be bored and think it silly. But I think it’s important for people to know, especially non-believers, that the Lord is always willing to have us back or get us back into His keeping. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

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      • It wasn’t silly or boring. It was important words of wisdom.

        I hope it is okay if I comment again. I believe as far as eternity is concerned believers are still kept even if they go astray…be it do to a crisis of faith or simply the lure of the world, but we are prone to forget that we are kept. The result is that we are robbed of much peace.

        We can even be faithful in attending, but hesitant to bond with the people in the churches we attend, and the effect is similar to not going at all…we forget that we are kept and are robbed of much peace.

        If we have precious brothers and sisters in the faith that we regularly meet with they can pray for us (and with us) and share Biblical truth with us. They can reach out and hold our hand when we are sick or afraid. I like the story where Moses was supposed to keep his hands raised in order for a battle to go well. When he got tired two people held his hands up. 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing your journey. The Good Shepherd never gives up on us and is always ready to take us back. In my early 30’s, after more than a decade of agnosticism, I returned to The Church of the Good Shepherd, a little church with a big, beautiful stained-glass window of Jesus cradling a lamb. It was love at first sight, and I’ve been there ever since.

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