Our pastor said something yesterday that sounded a bit strange to me, but I don’t think it’s the first time I’ve heard him say it. Before I tell you what he said, let me tell you about the service.
Since it was a 5th Sunday, the ministerial team decided to try something new. If it went over well, it would become a regular event. Rather than having the pastor preach a traditional sermon, we had a song sermon, in which several songs were selected to emphasize a particular theme. Between each song, the pastor provided a segue – an short speech to introduce the next song. The theme was Love, Grace, and Mercy. As part of the Ladies’ ensemble who sang the first song of the sermon, I had the privilege of attending all 3 services. That’s right, 3. It was enjoyable, albeit a bit redundant.
Our early service is attended mostly by older members and is traditional Methodist. A few hymns, the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the sermon. The pastor used his notes for this service. I think it went well.
The 9:40 service is more contemporary – praise songs take the place of the Apostle’s Creed. The sermon is the same, as are the anecdotes. Almost word for word. It also went well.
The 11:00 service is even more contemporary – a younger, more lively crowd. This service usually runs longer than the earlier services. In the past, this was because worship was more energetic and no one was in a hurry for it to end. This seems to be a new concept for our current pastor, who tried to get us out by noon when he first came to us in June. He has since been informed, apparently, that we prefer a longer service. His tendency is to draw out the message, addding a few anecdotes or extra comments in order to fill the time. But it’s still the same sermon. Almost.
So, the three services were all the same, except that in the 3rd service, the preacher man decided to ditch his segue notes, and this is when it got a little strange. He got ahead of himself and had to ad-lib his way back to the intro of the first song. He recovered pretty well, and unless you had been to the other services, you probably wouldn’t have caught it. Towards the end, however, it got a little hairy. This is when, in talking about God’s love, he made some vague reference to the “Hound of Heaven” and God’s relentless pursuit of us. Somehow, this led to his memory of owning a kennel and the puppies that would chase and nip at his heels.
I looked at my husband and asked “Is that supposed to be an analogy?” To which my beloved replied, “Yes, God is like a puppy.”
Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, don’t it?