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Still Go to Church on Vacation

I have just returned from two weeks visiting family in Texas and Louisiana. It was trip that went by fast because everyday we were somewhere different. Perhaps you are familiar with these types of vacations that are more exhausting than relaxing. Everyday was a time to play “catch up” with someone. Say goodbyes and pray it wouldn’t be so long till the next time we could sit down with a cup of coffee, beer, etc. Thankfully many of us are on Facebook so we can keep in touch there.

One interesting moment for my household is when we are on vacation and our time away will include a Sunday. If we’re on vacation on the Lord’s Day do we just not go to church? Do we go to a church with different theology? How different can it be? The Lord’s Day in wife’s family was always a day to attend church even if they were on vacation. That was not the case for me when I grew up. I appreciated that my wife’s dad set that example for his children and I wanted to leave my children with that memory as well. So far, every time we have been on vacation, we have found a way to attend a service on the Lord’s Day

Every time there are different challenges to finding a location to worship. The big question we ask each other is “Where do we go?” I knew we would be in a small town in Louisiana on one of the Sundays, with no vehicle. And in this small town (I think there are literally 3 street lights) there were limited options. My options were: Roman Catholic, Baptist (not certain on the affiliation), Methodist, PCUSA, Pentecostal, and Spanish-Pentecostal. Where would you go? Why?

I ended up selecting the PCUSA congregation. The short version of my decision-making process could be summed up with this: trusting the liturgy. I’m fairly confident that the Baptist congregation in this small town, probably shared more of my social values. And that was really the only one I was considering. But at the end of the process I had to trust the liturgical practice of the denomination. I also had to hope it was still in place. I understand that the PCUSA as a denomination has spun out of control and off into something that doesn’t even resemble it’s historical roots. However, I figured (prayed) a congregation of the PCUSA, in the middle of the south, would not be one of those rank liberal congregations leading the way.

 

We ended up at the small presbyterian church in the middle of rural Louisiana and thank God we were right. The liturgy had a call to worship, confession of sin, assurance of pardon, reciting the Nicene creed, a sermon, the Lord’s Prayer, and benediction. The sermon wasn’t great. It was actually pretty terrible. But I’m not writing to review the sermon, I want to share what we did when we had a tough decision on where to worship. The service had God’s Word read aloud, we gathered with the communion of the saints and we were reminded of something bigger than ourselves in the work of Christ through the announcement of the Gospel.


2 Comments

  1. RubeRad says:

    Interesting; I would have gone for Baptist, on the logic that I would be most likely to hear the gospel. But PCUSA would have been second. Or actually maybe I would choose RC as an educational experience for the boys.

  2. Katherine says:

    I do attend church on vacation when I can. When I go to Palm Springs where my Mom lives, I have attended an Evangelical Free church before it disbanded, an Espiscopalian church once for Easter because it is liturgical, a PCUSA church which is more like our church but now with the new ruling at teh General Assemebly I don’t know if I will go there any more. I hope they leave the denomination. Plus, the Greek Orthodox church as now my Mom is a member there. I really don’t like going to it but I go to “honor my mother and father”. I focus on the things I like, the singing in Greek by the choir which is very pretty, the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Prayer. The “sermons are weak” but I go to see what they are saying. I do like the commraderie aftewards in the “fellowship hall”. I don’t know if it is cultural or what but I feel more accepted there than in my own church at times.

    I have attended church on other vacations as well. Like you mentioned it depends on transportation and location of where we are staying. I try to research the options before I go. When we were in Athens we went to an Anglican church. In the Greek islands they only had Greek Orthodox churches, all in Greek which my Mom says she would not understand though she is fluent in Greek. I guess it is a different kind of Greek. They don’t have pews. They stand for the whole service. I didn’t see any other churches available. On the Big Island on Hawaii, we have attended a Congregational church ( church where the Blairs came from) . It was cool because one of the hymns they sang was in hawaiian. We also have attended a non denominational church called Living Stones. Their sermons were pretty good. They preach through books of the bible not just topical and seemed more calvinistic than I expected.

    Regardless of where we go, it is an opportunity to see the broader christian church. Some good, some not so good which calls us to pray for her.

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