Tag Archives: Prayer

Um, This Is Church?

First, we were advised not to go to church. Then forbidden to go.

What?

I’ve attended since a newborn. As a toddler, I sat on the front pew as my mother played the piano. Mom dressed my brother and me in sleepers, as we nodded off before services ended.

Sleepers! In front of God and everybody! An indignity not to be endured.

Finally, Mom gave in, and I wore proper church attire.

Our small church supplied infinite hugs. I played hide-and-seek after services with friends more like cousins. And the potlucks! I still embrace the credo that the church supplies the ultimate food for both body and soul.

Best of all, I not only learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” at church, I grew in that truth.

As a teen, though, I fantasized about skipping services. Later, as a busy church music director, I occasionally longed to worship per TV, where everyone sang on key.

Sometimes, the following prayer cropped up: “God, just this Sunday, may I stay in bed?” Worshipping while wearing sleepers sounded downright spiritual.

Then the coronavirus, a dark angel, swooped in.

Watching online worship while wearing bathrobes, our shaggy-haired congregation probably looked quite biblical. So good to see our pastors. To drink in the Scriptures, living water for parched people in a COVID-19 desert.

Yet, a cyber hug can never replace a real one. When restrictions were lifted, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Except those — including seniors — considered high risk.

Steve and I took Communion at home on Maundy Thursday.

As a teen, I’d wanted to sneak out of services. Now I considered sneaking in.

Could I lie about my age to attend church? What if a bouncer carded me — “She’s got Medicare B!” — and tossed me out?

Reluctantly, Hubby and I continued online worship. The small congregation practiced “social distancing,” as if all had forgotten to shower. The long-haired, masked group resembled a gathering of hippie surgeons.

Weird.

Yet, I ached to be there. …

Finally, when seniors received a sort-of green light, Hubby and I donned masks and went to church, sitting miles away from friends we’d missed so much.

My mask fogged my glasses, causing hymn lyrics to disappear. The mask contracted when I inhaled, poufed when I sang. Still, loving the church family voices around us, Hubby and I belted out hymns with vigor.

Despite the odd, reduced gathering, Jesus was there.

We and our brothers and sisters at home pray fervently that soon, we will all be together again. Meanwhile, we connect through prayer, technology, and conversations across yards, streets, and parking lots.

Above all, we connect through joy that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Even wearing sleepers for church can’t take that away.

Upland Community Church — I’m not sneaking out now!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Has the pandemic changed your church?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: I’m Not Talking to Them–They’re Talking to Me

O Lord, You didn’t give plants the ability to speak words, bark, or meow. They can’t even drag their dishes across the floor. But OMG, when we forget to water them (for two whole days!), they make their feelings very clear.

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Still Riding Strong

O Lord, when Hubby and I first rode our new tandem, we nearly took out our neighbor’s trash cans. He wasn’t perfect then and isn’t now. And unlike Daisy, I don’t always “look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.” But OMG, thank You for 17 years and 5,500 miles of mostly fun cycling together without a crash.

Hubby and I at the Blueberry Festival, Plymouth, Indiana, circa 2006.

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: My Opinion Not Needed

O Lord, You know that when Mommy and Daddy Robin built their stringy, precarious nest on our garage light, this grandma ached to give them advice. Daddy, find a better site. Find a new architect. Mommy, keep your feet up so they don’t swell. No heavy lifting!

OMG, maybe those young parents didn’t need my input?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Little Things Count, Especially If They’re Cheap and Yummy

O Lord, You know that when our daughters married I tucked my sweet-and-sour recipe into their new recipe boxes. Recently, a mom on Facebook recognized I’d given it to her as a bride, too, and her kids love it. OMG, I’m learning: meatballs aren’t a profound theological contribution to others’ lives, but little goodnesses can make a difference.

*Sweet-and-Sour Sauce for Chicken, Pork, or Meatballs

When using 1½ lbs. chicken or pork, I cook the chopped meat with one sliced onion in oil. Set aside.

When using meatballs, mix:

  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef
  • 2/3 c. cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • 1 ½ t. garlic powder
  • ¼ t. ginger
  • ¼ c. milk 

Form meatballs and cook in oil in skillet. Set aside.

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 1 can (13½ oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)
  • 1/3 c. vinegar
  • 1 T. soy sauce

Mix dry ingredients, then add reserved juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Cook in skillet over medium heat, stirring until mixture thickens. Add pineapple.

To sweet-and-sour chicken or pork, I add 1 tart apple, sliced, and stir until crisp-tender. 1/3 c. bell pepper (green, red, etc.), chopped, can also be added to any of the recipes. 

Add meat and stir until heated through. Serve over rice. Serves 4-6, depending on whether your household includes big eaters. Enjoy!

*Based on Waikiki Meatballs Recipe, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 1975