Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mr. Bob


Having just returned from a lengthy stay in Maine, we couldn't wait to get back to Christ Community Church. Many of our best friends are there, and we love it. When among this community of Faith, there is a genuine sense of the presence of God. Who wouldn't want to be in an atmosphere where God seems to continually show up, transforming lives?

However, if you are looking for high-fashion, high-church, or high-mindedness, Christ Community is probably not your cup of tea. Fact is, it may be the most diverse congregation I have ever been a part of. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, when we gather, it reminds me of Toby Keith's song, "I Love This Bar." Threads from the human fabric of all the surrounding counties and from Alabama across the Chattahoochee River, are being redeemed and woven together to form the tapestry of this church's life. On any given Sunday, people from every walk of life are in attendance: the wealthy, the poor, and everything in between.

For instance...

This morning when we walked into the sanctuary, Joann, the wife of Mr. Bob grabbed my arm and pointed to the stage. There was Mr. Bob, eighties years old playing the keyboard! Neither Sandy nor I could stop smiling. Another guy in his fifties was providing percussion with a set of bongos and a tambourine. The base player plucking, and donning a headset, was probably in his late thirties. Two young guys in their twenties were playing rhythm and acoustic. Jae Lesley, the Worship Leader, was fully caught up in the moment. To the left of the musicians, a small choir of people stood on risers and accompanied them. We sang songs that were a mixture of contemporary music and hymns tastefully up-tempoed.

Mr. Bob is an accomplished church pianist and taught music in the public school system for years. He played the piano at a congregation I used to pastor. For the past several summers he has joined his son, Bob Jr., who has a cabin in Maine just a few hundred yards from ours. In the cool evenings, Mr. Bob pulls his chair up to our fire and joins the group of guys from Georgia, my Maine friends, and me, as we swap tales and tell lies. Mr. Bob loves to fish for hours on end, and he is tougher than boiled owl.

One afternoon, I walked up to his son's cabin. There, on the east bank of the Penobscot River, stood Mr. Bob. Ear buds in, hands raised to the heavens, and his elderly voice singing praises to his God. I am thankful for aged saints such as him. They remain engaged and relevant. Like King David, their epitaph could one day recount "He served God's purposes in his generation, and then died."

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