It wasn't long enough! But it was a blessing for as long/short as it was.
I attended a choral reading session in Oklahoma City on Saturday, then stayed two nights so that I could get in some concentrated writing and composition. One of the things I needed to write is a sermon, the outline of which is at least complete now. It will be the first time in over four years that I have preached for a morning worship service (well, two, actually). More about that later, perhaps.
Sunday morning found me back at the church that hosted the reading session, Church of the Servant (United Methodist). It was a very good worship experience; I encountered God in a way I wasn't expecting. (That, to me, usually marks a good worship service!) The people I met at Church of the Servant took their welcoming and hospitality very, very seriously. It's not very often that I experience a greeting from nearly everyone I encounter at church...and I'm a staff member at my own church, where we're considered pretty friendly! It wasn't a case of vague smile and "hello" kind of half-greeting, either. People looked me in the eye, gave their names, asked for mine, and told me they were glad I was with them. And you have to understand something cultural: Though I'm not a born-Texan, I have lived here a long time. That makes me a visitor from Texas. And there is a "Red River Rivalry" that one ignores at one's peril. I had a "flying bird" signal from one Oklahoma driver on the trip. I was not impeding traffic, nor was I going too fast and crazy. As near as I can figure it, this guy was infuriated by a Texas license plate deep in Oklahoma territory. So, for Oklahoma church members to overcome their natural propensity to distrust Texans enough for me to feel genuinely welcome, well...let's just say that God was in our midst. Truly.
But that's not what surprised me about the worship experience. That, I haven't quite finished processing yet. When I do, I'll blog about it. Meanwhile, I've got a couple of new "8:30" songs written, text for a third started, a sermon outlined, and while on the drive, made a dent in my backlog of publishers' browsing CDs to see what's worth buying for "10:45" choir music.
All in all, as I said, I was blessed. I trust that by having enjoyed a change of pace, I will in turn be a blessing to those I work with.
Oh, and the furry residents of Chez Psalmist greeted, rather than snubbed me on my arrival home. Life is good.