We had an evening service at our church tonight. Sadly, we don't usually have them. But we are starting them up at the unhurried pace of one service every two months. The biggest problem is that as a fairly new church plant we don't have our own building, and so we have nowhere to meet in the evenings. Tonight we borrowed the Episcopalians building. We have borrowed it several times now. There are at least five reasons why I love evening church, and why it was a good service.
1. The nice building. Them Episcopalians know how to build. This seems like a small point to start on, but after meeting in a plain room week after week, being in a real sanctuary feels pretty nice. They have a great cross up front, a nice wooden pulpit, and nice big windows on both sides making it feel big and airy. The pews were kind of hard, but the kneelers were padded, and I took advantage.
2. The unhurried pace. Evening church always has a more relaxed feel, and it is a wonderful way to end the Lord's day, by coming together again with God's people, to worship and relax together. Morning services have a more rushed, official feel, but in the evenings you can mosey and reflect.
3. Good preaching. I think our pastor hits his stride in the evening, because the two evening services I have heard him preach have been some of his best preaching. He sticks to the text more closely, and goes through explaining what God's word is to us from the text. Tonight he took the letter to the church in Laodicia, and exposed our tendency to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. Guilty as charged.
4. Communion. Tonight we did communion by families. Family units went to the front together, and knelt at the altar, and were served communion and prayed for by one of the elders. Sadly, Aubrey had to work a shift at the hospital, so I was a fractured family unit, but still Craig prayed for me, and it was fun to see the families of the church go up together.
5. Singing. Doing communion that way takes a while, so during the time, we all got to sing a whole slew of good songs, including one of my favorites "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." I also used some of the extended singing time to pray kneeling on the kneelers, and to flip through the Book of Common Prayer that was in the pew rack in front of me. I love the Book of Common Prayer, I think its an added bonus of being an Episcapalian, that we Presbyterians miss out on.