‘Pull Up a Chair’ as We Dedicate our Garden and Chapel
When someone invites you to “pull up a chair,” it is usually a symbol of good old-fashioned hospitality, as if to say, “you are welcome to join us.”
I would like to echo those sentiments as we further advance our efforts to be an open and welcoming church by inviting you to “pull up a chair” for this week’s 4th of July service.
We are hoping to worship outside as we dedicate our new Serenity Garden and Outdoor Chapel. Right now, the weather forecast looks good, and there is always a cool breeze up on the hill, so it should be a great day to expand our ministry at Oak Chapel.
You might be asking yourself, what is the significance of a Serenity Garden and Outdoor Chapel? Is not the current sanctuary sufficiently beautiful and sacred?
The answer to that question is, “yes, it is indeed,” but there is something special about worshipping outside in the beauty of God’s creation that stirs the spirit. There is also considerable significance to turning our sanctuary “inside-out” as we discussed last year, to make it less intimidating and more inviting to those who currently don’t have a place to worship.
So, we invite you, and encourage you to invite others, to bring your favorite (and most comfortable) outdoor chair and gather on the lawn for our first service in our new outdoor chapel this Sunday. If, however, you don’t have a favorite outdoor chair (or forget to bring one), don’t worry. We will have chairs from the church placed on the sidewalk as well as the ramp to the entrance.
A great deal of time and effort has gone into planning and creating this sacred space. One might suggest that we didn’t “need” a garden or an outdoor chapel, but this endeavor was not based on need. Instead it was based on a vision for spreading the Good News and sharing our faith in a venue that would be less threatening and more inviting to those who may not be used to traditional worship. We are hoping that our new sacred space will attract new people to the church while providing a place for all of us to reflect and pray along with our fellow congregants, friends, and neighbors.
Romans 12:13 encourages us to “share with the Lord’s people who are in need and to practice hospitality.” Oak Chapel has a long history of doing both, and our hope is that by worshipping outside and providing a place for prayer and reflection we will further enhance those efforts.
So once again we invite you to spend a portion of your 4th of July holiday with us. Pull up a chair as we worship and fellowship together this Sunday.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John