Now that the summer months are here, many of you will be heading out for some vacation time. It may be just a weekend getaway. It could be a week or two away from home.
However long you will be gone, don’t forget to make time for worship on your trip. It’s always interesting to visit other churches in other towns. Most churches love to have visitors. Even if you aren’t greeted right away, don’t get upset. Give the folks the benefit of the doubt. Chalk it up to being shy or unsure about what to say. Don’t let it get in the way of your Sunday morning reception of God’s gifts. After all, when’s the last time you personally greeted a visitor at our church? Having said that, I have found that all it takes for a visitor to feel welcome is for just one person to greet them as they enter and say, “Hi! Welcome! I haven’t met you. My name is...”
Finding a Missouri Synod church near your vacation spot is not all that difficult, by the way. Thanks to the internet, it’s quite easy. I've placed two links for you to use in the “Resources” section of the sidebar. The first is titled “LCMS Congregation Locator.” That will take you directly to the LCMS website and will help you locate a church either in a city or within a certain distance of a particular zipcode. The other is entitled “Liturgical Congregation Locator.” As you may know, the worship practices of our synod are all over the map. This site will help you locate a congregation that is dedicated to using the historic liturgy of the Church and which faithfully practices Closed Communion. And if all else fails, you can always call the church office and use the hard copy of the Lutheran Annual. Sure, it’s “old school,” but it still works.
Now, if your vacation takes you, say, out in the woods to camp, you probably won’t have any luck finding a church nearby. So take along your hymnal and a Bible. Use some of the worship resources for individuals and families on pages 294 and following. Depending on which Sunday you are gone, you can even read the same Scripture readings as we will be using in church. We’re currently using Series C in the 3-year cycle of readings as printed on page xviii. Maybe take a copy of Portals of Prayer along for a ready-made mini-sermon.
Wherever your vacation takes you, here’s a prayer for you to use before you set out for both your leaving and returning:
Lord God our Father, You kept Abraham and Sarah in safety throughout the days of their pilgrimage, You led the children of Israel through the midst of the sea, and by a star You led the Wise Men to the infant Jesus. Protect and guide us now in this time as we set out to travel. Make our ways safe and our homecomings joyful, and bring us at last to our heavenly home, where You dwell in glory with Your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.