I grew up in a very traditional church...straight pews, huge pipe organ, solemn hymns, dressing up in our Sunday best. One of my favorite memories of our church was it's beautiful architecture. The stained glass windows in the sanctuary each tell a bible story (not the one shown below...it's in the stairway...the light wasn't cooperative in the sanctuary).
The curved arches and gothic spires of the bell tower hold bricks created by local hands in the late 18th century. The hallways are small, but full of local history, and the people are like family. At least, that's the church that I remember. What I found on the Sunday that we went back to my hometown was something completely different....The building was the same, but the spirit was different. This once-traditional church traded in it's pipe organ and choir. The hymnals are now in a glass-box cover in the "history museum," along with robes and candlesticks. Lyrics are projected onto the walls and the few remaining attendees of this once-thriving church rock out in their jeans and t-shirts. And hey - that works for some people.
Based on the current attendance, I'm thinking that most of the folks I grew up with decided the same thing that I did.....it didn't work for me. So we left.....we went someplace that felt a little bit closer to God - for us. (Just to be clear, I'm not judging the good folks of my home church. Only saying that its new persona no longer feels right, personally.)
We went down to the river....which was mighty high, thanks to Hurricane Joaquin!! We talked about life, love, spirituality, and how we saw God in the beauty around us. We walked around and watched the lights being erected for the annual Festival of Lights. Some days, the Holy Spirit is inside....and some days you just have to venture a little further.