Today I experienced one of those bonding events—Chandler, Kent and I attended the “Price Family Reunion” in New Castle, Indiana. I love these moments where I acquire snippets of Kent’s history. The day started by attending the small Separatist Baptist Church where Kent attended as a child. Upon arriving, I experienced an extreme wave of nostalgia. The church itself reminded me of the small Nazarene churches of my youth. Upon entering the church, we sang hymns—yes hymns—great hymns of the church. I miss them so much in my worship. I understand that “praise choruses” are all the rage and in order to reach out, we need to be contemporary, but I miss hymns: those robust songs with theology and truth embedded therein. I know Chandler was on the verge of sleep for the entire time, but I really was present and “in the moment”.
Once the minister began to speak, I was taken back 35 years or so, to the preaching of Nazarene ministers of my childhood. I must have had a crazy grin on my face—not because his words were earth shattering, but because of the memories released in my mind. Following the service, I met the minister—he was a “fill-in” as this church is awaiting the arrival of their permanent pastor in a few weeks. Anyway, upon more interrogation, I find that he is—indeed—a Nazarene minister (I knew it—I can pick them out in a crowd—LOL). He went to Olivet (as did I) and was friends with the man who pastured the church here in Decatur in the 70's before my dad. He also knew dad, as the Nazarene world is mighty small. I felt contented. I hadn’t worshiped in, what some might label “archaic” means, in years and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
Following the service, we headed to “New Castle Memorial Park” for the reunion and the quest to meet the extended family. I was impressed with the folks I met there. They are genuine, loving people who respect each other and serve the Lord with delight. The warmth I felt is something I will not forget. They welcomed me to the family and made me feel at home. I enjoyed the stories, of Kent’s past escapades—which participants were more than eager to share with me. This information certainly begins to fill in the mosaic that is Kent.
I hadn’t planned on being this content after today. I worried that I would “fit in” and that Kent’s family would “accept me”. So what is the result? Turn about is fair play-it will be Kent's turn next week at my family reunion in Arkansas? I can only hope he feels as fulfilled afterwards as I do this evening. Life truly is all about connecting….
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