You know the old saying, “You can’t judge a church by its book covers.” (That’s how the saying goes, right?) In spite of that, when I saw the book table at the back of All Souls's meeting space, I could only think well of the church itself.
Of course there was a book by Timothy Keller (Shaped by the Gospel), I expected that. Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. All Souls is an affiliate of Redeemer Presbyterian, and it was launched in partnership with Grace Seattle and the Metro Northwest Church Planting Network. I was actually surprised there was only one Keller book.
Parenting is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky) and books for kids (including as a children’s illustrated Bible). This wasn’t surprising either, as there were many kids in the church. (For safety’s sake, we try to be careful about children in photos, but as Mindy said, “Taking pictures without kids is difficult here. That’s a good thing.”) During the service, a father and his young son read Scripture (John 13) together. We saw a little girl wearing a unicorn horn headband. We talked to a teen who used to go to a church with three teens. He said he enjoyed being part of a church with plenty of other high schoolers.
Confessions by Augustine on the book table, which is one of the most important books of church history. After over a millennium and a half, it’s still changing lives. Sadly, in the few Christian bookstores that remain, you’re much more likely to find a Gigi, God’s Little Princess or a Bob the Tomato keychain than this classic.
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (not a Christian book) was also on the book table. I tend to think it’s there to encourage a conversation interacting with the ethical dilemmas in the contemporary world (even though the book is approaching the century mark).
Mystery and Manners, a book I dearly love, written by one of my favorite authors. We were able to visit her childhood home in Savannah, Georgia, when we were on our cross country trip.
Actually, that might not be the best thing of all on that table. The best thing on the table was probably the sign up for the City Service Day at Madison Middle School.
Madison Middle School is where the church meets. All Souls doesn’t own a church building, and I don’t know why. It might be a financial decision or it might be a strategic decision that allows the church to appeal to people who feel more comfortable in a school than in a traditional church building. I just don’t know.
The church is working through a series on the Psalms, and Matthew was preaching on Psalm 127 which he said is his favorite Psalm. It happens to be mine as well. Much of the focus of the sermon was on verse 2 of the Psalm, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat -- for He grants sleep to those He loves.”
I give a lot of thought to sleep. I’m a night auditor, working 11:00 pm to 7:00 am and sleeping during the day, which isn’t always easy. Matthew said “Going to bed is an act of faith,” and I could relate to that. Sleep is a gift.
|rare sighting of a pastor's actual sermon notes|