Today, Easter Sunday 2014, was a day to remember. My wife and I, along with her sister, and her sister’s daughter and husband, attended Saint Johannes Lutheran Church in St. Clara, West Virginia. Well, I’m not sure if it’s IN St. Clara, or just close by. Really, it’s “up the holler”, as the locals would say. Or, for you people who like to speak proper English, to you it’s “up the hollow”. Regardless, it’s one beautiful place.
The church was started way back in June, 1888. Yes, that’s just about 126 years. A lot of history, a lot of pastors, weddings, funerals, pot luck dinners…and a lot of God.
It’s nice to know that God hasn’t changed in 126 years, even though the building has.
Phyllis and I attended the church back in the initial days of our search for truth and life. We didn’t realize we were looking for Jesus, but we were. We had been married only 1-2 years, and were a couple of young kids. This was in 1973-74.
At the beginning of the service, from the back of the sanctuary flowed a beautiful melody, “Alleluia Canon”, that was awesome. Two ladies were singing, accompanied by some soft wind instruments. It made the hairs on the back of my neck rise up, like they were trying to praise and worship the God of the Resurrection! It was amazing.
God came to church, right out there in the hollow. Wow!
Scripture readings came from Acts 10, Psalm 118, Colossians 3, and Matthew 28. We heard that Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, that today is the day of salvation, Christ is risen and we are risen with him, and that no stone or devil can stop God’s work.
One thing I specifically gleaned from the message was life happens. Regardless of whether we have our life planned out for us or not, or even just part of a day. Things happen that we may not be ready for, or even want to take place, but with the Spirit’s help we can face it, endure it, and even reign above it. Praise the Lord.
Communion was powerful; connecting the resurrection of Jesus with his promise to come again.
They didn’t have what I would call a “worship team”, and some of the songs were unfamiliar to me, but God was worshipped. Even though we sang from a hymnal, recited the Lord’s prayer, and read the Apostle’s Creed in unison,
Why wouldn’t he be? He’s been associated with Saint Johannes Lutheran Church for almost 126 years. And he’s the one who said, “If you seek me, you will find me; when you search for me with all your heart. And I will be found by you…”
One response to “Easter Up The Hollow”
This is the church I grew up in. I am one of those singers in the Alleluia Canon. Your interpretation is beautiful and I, too, was overwhelmed with how God used all of us, in our own brokenness and imperfections, to bring glory to Him. We are not fancy, but we are certainly full of love overflowing! Praise the Lord, He is Risen Indeed! (BTW, the instrument we were playing were hand chimes) 🙂