Serenity Sunday

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This was a special memory, a time when our church walks to the African

Methodist Episcopalian Church in Delaware, Ohio. The way the ‘body of

the church’ there responds to the words of the Gospel, is quite amazing.

My young children, ages 1, 3 and 5 had seen a few movies with the responses

that different cultures have to religion.

We were open-minded,

had chosen to go to the

Asbury Methodist Church

to visit,

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church,

and then, this summer Sunday,

we had been entering

First Presbyterian Church

for the first time.

My three children were all ‘slicked up’ in their Sunday’s best clothes. The

two girls in matching dresses, ‘baby’ in my arms, since she was still pretty

clingy. The people we saw pouring out of the church, were all friendly,

but wait! Had I missed the time? Were they starting earlier, in summer?

One very open, sweet faced petite ‘elderly’ woman, older than my parents

who were in their fifties, (I, only thirty, considering my parents… “old!”)

stopped to tell me that the whole congregation ‘exchanged’ or ‘visited’

the other church, AME church, in the summer for one Sunday and then,

the following one, their whole church came to ‘ours.’

When we entered their church, you must walk up a long, steep set of

steps. They had an elevator, for those who were needing it. This group of

well-dressed black people on the first floor and outside the door, looked

like they were in the receiving line of a wedding. All were such warm,

smiling faces. I was glad I had not turned around at First Presby and

gotten into my car to go home!

Their were a few children who greeted my children, some giving hugs,

as encouraged by their parents and what appeared to be grandparents.

 

The Gospel songs, rejoicing and praising the Lord were awesome on

this Sunday. For many years since I arrived in Delaware,

in the late Summer of 1986,

I have walked or driven straight there.

Knowing how blessed I would feel, enriched and most importantly,

LOVED after the service.

I had known of Maya Angelou, due to being born in Cleveland, my

parents having chosen, during their retirement around 1979, to move

to Vermilion, Ohio. Maya went to college in Oberlin, where my parents

had chosen their ‘final’ church to attend. The service included this poem.

I know this because it has helped me, made me continue to feel loved,

throughout many years since that first visit at the AME church.

There are many poems, books and thoughts (quoted frequently) that

Maya wrote, but these powerful words were ‘given to me’ on that first

Sunday morning of church in Delaware, Ohio, in the articulate man

who preached to us the Word of Christ:

 

“CHRISTIANS

by Maya Angelou

(April 14, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean livin’

I’m whispering ‘I was lost

Now I’m found and forgiven.’

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I don’t speak of this with pride.

I’m confessing that I stumble

And need Christ to be my guide.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not trying to be strong.

I’m professing that I’m weak

And need His strength to carry on.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not bragging of success.

I’m admitting I have failed

And need God to clean my mess.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not claiming to be perfect,

My flaws are far too visible

But, God believes I am worth it.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I still feel the sting of pain.

I have my share of heartaches

So I call upon His name.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not holier than thou,

I’m just a simple sinner

Who received God’s good Grace, somehow!”

 

I am off to babysit, really play with, my grandchildren.

I give them little parts of my faith,

pieces of God,

to love

and

pray.

 

I have an overnight planned,

so won’t be posting

tomorrow either!

 

 

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17 responses »

  1. So wonderful — all of this!

    I love the poem, and hadn’t encountered it before. And I think it’s awesome that you visit around that way. The world would be a better place, if everyone who goes to church had your attitude.

    Are you on twitter? I’m going to link to this from twitter. I love the poem. Enjoy the day with your family and grandchildren! ❤

    • I do love sharing my beliefs with my grandchildren, since only two of them attend church of the six. I am blessed, Timi. Thanks for your noticing the way I put the words together in this post, my dear! I had one hour to catch up and I needed 4 today at the library!

    • I had a wonderful time, not like the Jazz Festival with the guest star attraction of B.B. King over on your posts! Just a quiet night, dominoes, hide and seek with flashlights (it is still amazing to me, that the little guy will play this with only me, only so many places to hide, too…) We went to the Powell, Ohio Splash Pad and enjoyed our day today, he scampered, skipped and jumped around in the water there! I got pulled into the spray once or twice too!

    • It will always be my ‘favorite’ Delaware church, but I have been not going to any in the past 8 years regularly! I still get a newsletter from the Presbyterian church, which is the one I know the people best. The greeters hug everyone, but I loved the fact that the children were hugging strangers at the AME church…

    • I am thankful for your last comment. This was such an uplifting word to share with me, today! I appreciate that you liked the poem and the story of my little family, too! Smiles, Robin

  2. Ahhh…thanks for taking me to church with your oh so lovely post, Robin! What a wonderful tradition! I’ve never read this poem of Maya Angelou’s before, so thank you for enlightening me with your words and hers. All the best. ❤ ~Karen~

    • Karen, I have the beginning of my awards post, but will have to conclude it over the weekend! I am going to ‘make you proud’ of your nominating me for this lovely award! I am so glad you found this post to be special and it is fun to visit other churches, especially as a whole congregation, it is nice to fill the church up, when it is summer time… Not always an ‘easy task,’ no matter what kind of church, due to vacationers and relaxing the church visits more while it is so nice to be outdoors. We also have an outdoor service and picnic every summer, at Gallant Woods…Thanks always for your sweet comments and ‘all the best’ back to you, Karen!

  3. I always have thought of Maya Angelou as America’s ‘latter day Robert Frost.’ Even though she was never named America’s Poet Laureate, as was Frost in 1958, she did receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest non-military award. The eloquence of her poem that you shared is typical of her poetic gifts. Thanks for such an uplifting story! – Mike

    • Maya Angelou’s book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” was one of my first experiences reading a black woman’s book. It was inspiring and frightening, in so many ways… Thanks for giving more tributes to Maya, adding to my post, Mike!! Hugs, Robin

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