I’m sure my regular readers have noticed that I rarely post missives here anymore. There are a lot of reasons for that, including the feeling that I’ve said just about everything I have to say about faith, God, and a non-Jew’s bent toward Jewish learning and worship.
However, changes and challenges continue to come my way. My Dad passed away over two years ago, and even then, my Mom’s memory was beginning to fail. Today, her dementia is quite pronounced and for over a year and a half, she’s been living in an independent residential facility, which has worked out well for her.
However, she was in Southwestern Utah, where she and Dad had decided to retire many years ago, while I live in Idaho and my brother lives in Virginia. It was a nine hour drive one way just for my wife and me to visit her.
Mom’s support continued to dwindle as her peers either moved away or passed away, and especially without Dad, she became very lonely. I finally convinced her to move to Boise so we could be near her and she could see us as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My wife and I researched support systems here and found a very nice independent living home just 15 minutes away from where we live.
With her memory and judgment continuing to deteriorate, she’s had a tough time adjusting, but then, it’s only been about two weeks since she’s arrived. There have been a number of hurtles to cross and we’re managing them as best we can.
One of the commitments I made to Mom was that I would find a Lutheran church for her and go with her to services every Sunday. I haven’t regularly attended church services in almost five years, ever since this happened. I never saw myself worshiping with traditional Christians ever again, but now, I go with Mom.
I took her for the first time last Sunday. She seemed to enjoy it, although she said the sermon was a bit long (I actually enjoyed it for the most part, though mentally, I was making little notes about how it could have been better). She even took communion (I called the church ahead of time and they said it was okay).
I’m taking her again this morning, hence my blog post.
It’s a nice place, relatively small and informal. The pastor and the church have a child-focused ministry, particularly regarding chronically ill children and those in the child welfare system. Not too many older folks at the later service, and when I did my research, I found they don’t have anything senior focused including any outreach.
At Mom’s church in Utah, when Dad was alive, they were very involved, had tons of friends, and participated in a lot of activities. Just before we moved Mom up here, she knew the Pastor and had one of Dad’s old friends give her rides to and from Sunday services, but that was about it (and the so-called “friend” of Dad’s turned out to be a bit of a snake, but that’s another story).
At her current residential home, there are plenty of activities, and thus opportunities for Mom to socialize as long as she takes advantage of them, but if we just go for Sunday services, we’ll arrive, worship, and then leave. No socializing, and Mom really needs to connect with folks.
I’ve thought about taking her to Sunday school before services, but between her dementia and macular degeneration in one eye, she neither reads well nor is able to retain what she reads for more than a minute or so. She wouldn’t even be able to follow along with a Bible study since, in any given conversation, I usually have to answer the same question five or six times or more since she forgets that she’s asked and that I’ve responded.
I know one of the reasons Mom likes the idea of me taking her to church is that it gets me into a church. However, in spite of her intentions, I’m going this time around only for her sake, which means, even if I were to go to a class with her, I’d be keeping my big mouth shut, something I didn’t do the last time I was “churched.”
I don’t know how this is going to work out in the long run, but as long as Mom wants to go to church on Sunday’s, I’ll take her.
I’ve looked at the church’s events calendar online, but besides a Quilter’s Group, there isn’t much for women, plus Mom doesn’t quilt. There’s actually more activities for men and a bunch for kids, but nowhere to plug Mom in.
I’m writing this to “think out loud,” so to speak. Beyond that, I don’t have much of a point.
I sometimes find it amazing and daunting that I’m actually attending services again, but it’s only to serve Mom.
Well, maybe I’ll take a few notes during the sermon just to see what turns up.
14 thoughts on “One More Time Back at Church”
James, I think you’re being a good son, trying to help and please your mom. And I pray the situation does not turn sour for you. There’s a big chasm between Messianic teachings and Lutheran, but since you’re not going to become a Lutheran anyway, and you are grounded in what you belief, then there is hope that you can continue to bless your mom in this way. Best wishes to you & your family.
Thanks, Linda. I took my Bible with me this morning and took notes during the sermon. I’m not going to start writing sermon commentaries again because they would all be boiled down to, “I don’t agree with that.” 😉
I had been, as I think you may remember, “unchurched” for years, only going to Sunday school and scooting after that, largely due to what I saw of politics and especially an anti-Messianic stance. Then suddenly, the old pastor was gone, a fresh wind blew in, and I am LOVING church on Sunday, as well as my Messianic congregation on Shabbat, which began in 2016. The sermons and the worship set me on fire. It’s not that there isn’t anything to occasionally disagree with in both places, but on the whole, it has been amazing. Maybe the Lord has you there for more than your mom’s sake, although he will bless you for honoring her (blessings, as you know, come in many guises). I wonder what he is up to? Looking forward to hearing more.
The Pastor seems like a nice enough guy, although his sense of humor is a bit corny. Mom didn’t remember if it was the same Pastor from last Sunday (it was) but said she liked the sermon and likes that they have more music than her old church. I put a “visitors/newcomers” form in the offering plate, so we’ll see if anyone responds to it.
Sad to hear about your mother’s progress. Does she like singing? So that you can have songs for her that she can listen too regularly as part of her routine. Because I hear it does help jog the memory…I have always linked some songs in my memory to particular episodes in the past with good accuracy.
What you describe is exactly what goes through me when I go to a service…making lots of mental notes – and uninhibited grimacing when a scripture verse is taken in an entirely fantastic direction it wasn’t meant to go! And if there is no genuine joy and warmth, a sigh wondering how much longer can this go on without all going to pieces.
But nevertheless recognizing that God mysteriously works through it all – despite such systems – even inside of them to bring people to salvation.
Hi Rose. She likes the music but I’m not sure how much of it she remembers. She seemed to like the service better this time, but it will take a while for her to adjust. The Pastor was saying something like how relationships can bring salvation in his sermon this morning, so who knows what the future will bring.
My opinions. If she said the sermon was a bit long (and given other reasons), it’s probably more of a burden (to both of you) than anything enjoyable for her to go to Sunday school. It sounds like a nice place. For interaction with other older people, help her with what is available where she lives. I was going today encourage her but changed it to help, because she might not really want that so much.
She liked the sermon better today, though I agree, Pastor can be a tad long-winded at times.
What is God up to, James?
My mother (who has Parkinson’s) moved in with me for the next few months. She really wanted to go to church, so I took her on Mother’s Day and since. Now I read this on your blog. Hmmm.
I really think we who are “bent toward Jewish learning” are called to be a bridge, not always with our mouths. 😀 Some how, some way, God wil use us. We just need to learn to listen and keep silent. (Not always/ever easy!)
Still…can’t help but admire God’s timing and sense of humor.
Yes, God has a sense of humor to be sure, Ro. 😉
Peace be to all and a good health.
Hello guys, we are always telling the people to read the H. Bible and search for the real truth of God, if thou like to be save. Because what those religions were preaching and teaching were only false faith believe, even they uses the name of God nor Jesus Christ. And still they have no connection to what God have it Plan in the NT gospel, that will only create big problem to all the people that they will all confront, for not also having no knowledge that the Universal Final Judgment have been already executed and was simulteneously and progressively applied as the Covenant goes on ever since 1st Century. So, let us elaborate briefly this Universal Final Judgment of Jesus Christ in Mt. 25:31-46.. And in verse 31-34, and thou will learn that when Jesus Christ have sitted to judge, he separated the Sheeps on his right and those Goats on his left (Note: Its very clear, that there is two separated Division Of the Covenants Judgment. And also from here, thou can prove that this Judgment have been already executed to all the people because Jesus Christ have already classified the kinds of character of all the people of the world. When he termed the sheep, which refers to all the Chosen Call Out Israeli that have recieved the Promise Covenant Salvation, to represent as those created holy Israelites and no to all gentiles! And those goats, which the primary representation of all the gentile nations that possess the accursedness of God. And with them were those Israelites that did not passed the Covenant Requirements of Christ. And also those other israelites that rejected to believe to Jesus Christ. And they now represent as those wicked people of the world or already characterize classified as almost like the character of the devil). And in verse 34-40, just read them because they were all doctrinal teachings that been observed by all the Chosen Bretheren Israelites saved by Jesus Christ in the given set period of Two Days in God count or 2000 years or as equivalent in the year of 1993 and also the completion of the Messianic Period. And in verse 41. Thou will notice before “Parousia Period” effectivity, Jesus Christ need to for warn those goats that the Messianic if ends they will be all classified as condemn judged possessing the cursed of God which is very infectious. So he told them to depart from him. Because if infected can be also put to eternal fire prepared to the devil and his angels. And this Judgment is Final and Executory to all the goats or to the world. And on verse 42-46, just read them because only the goat people that can be save are those that can now transform themselves into a very righteous person. As also what A. Paul instructed in Heb. 9:28 and also to A. Peter in 2Pet. 3:13-14, read them.
And this is what they did not know, why and how they were accurse by God. And this is it, this curse is directly comes from God, when it was used in the beginning of his creation. So, it is a living word and spiritual element from God, that can automatically connects or can instantly mix itself to the element part of all the people, once they make mistake or transgression which God dislike to the people they like to do, and what more if they done it repeatedly which they can be surely be condemn by God which they have sinned. So, the curse is hereditary and can be inherited and literally and spiritually can infected others. And this is the reason why they have no knowledge they have done it. And the truth which Jesus Christ have taught in Jn. 7:49, but these people who knoweth not the law are cursed. And who were those that does not believe to Jesus Christ? And the best example are those people that worship goddess or those people that always go to churhes with different goddesses, read Exo. 20:1-5, which God really dislike. And those that transgress were curse of their 3rd to 4th generation. And what for to those people that is very fanatic to their affiliated religions? For not also knowing that God also dislike it. Because God have an ORDER that there is no mediator between God and men except only to Jesus Christ. See with only these two example many disobeyed our God. But with the mercy of our God, He gave an amnesty to all the goats or their 2nd Chance hope that they can avail in this Parousia Period or the 2nd Advent to comply and to submit personally to the True Will Plan of God. So, if they still refuse the 2nd Death is already prepared for them in Rev. 21:8… This was Jesus Christ ADVISED ever since 1st Century.
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I hope this means we will see more from you. Welcome back.
Thanks, Cynthia. We’ll see.
I enjoy your missives as you called them. You provoke me to think beyond the boxes I find myself in from time to time. Also the debates especially between a certain twosome prove to be very interesting. Thanks!