Going to a birthday party and to church at the beach – wonderful
By Sparta Live | September 28, 2017 6:34 am
Playl’s Ponderings – by Steve Playl
Every year, on Sept. 11, Katie Grace has a birthday. This year was her fourth, and her parents planned a party at Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park for the following Saturday. Jungle Rapids is fantastic venue near K.G.’s home, in Wilmington, North Carolina. In addition to a water park and go-kart track, Jungle Rapids has games and a very large indoor playground for kids’ parties. Several birthdays were being celebrated, simultaneously, with each group in separate rooms for food and gifts.
Sammie’s sister, Robin, and husband, Ricky, went with us for the festivities. Kathryn Grace calls them “Aunt Obbie and Un-tul Wit-ty”- so stinking cute! More than a dozen of K.G.’s little friends ran, jumped, climbed, and slid on the playground, while parents and grandparents watched, chased and gasped.
After working up monster appetites, they ate pizza and cupcakes. Then we loaded up the gifts and leftovers and went to Shannon’s house for naptime and, eventually, a football game – which I do NOT want to discuss.
Next day we drove 400-plus miles back to Bristol. A hundred miles one-way for each year of Katie Grace’s life, but it was worth it. Before the Sunday afternoon drive, we went to church and then to brunch at Boca Bay.
If you are ever in Wilmington, I would recommend Sunday brunch at Boca Bay, but I’ll skip the restaurant review for now. Instead, let me just share with you about Beach Church.
On Saturday, we had planned to rise early the next morning and worship on the beach. Little Chapel on the Boardwalk, an active Presbyterian Church in Wrightsville Beach, has an early service every Sunday from May through October – Beach Church. Weather permitting, that is.
As we drove across the bridge to Wrightsville, drops of rain began to splatter on our windshield. The weather didn’t seem to be cooperating.
With optimism we agreed, “Maybe it will pass.”
It slowed to a light drizzle, though, so we proceeded to the designated spot. On the walkway across the dunes, we met a couple heading away from the ocean. They informed us that the church service had been cancelled, due to inclement weather.
Recalling Jesus, asleep in the boat, on the sea, surrounded by extreme squalls, we decided to proceed. If nothing else, the six of us would have our own church service. As we looked for places to sit – and stand – another couple joined us. They were a bit more determined to have church than the other couple we had met, so the eight of us huddled together to become a small congregation of worshippers.
Our spontaneous worship included a greeting or “word of peace,” as we introduced ourselves to Heiner and Paula, learning that they had a daughter, in Germany, and a son in, Texas, and that Paula plays violin in church regularly. Shannon led us in singing, and I brought an abbreviated sermon from the 21st Chapter of John’s Gospel. That’s where Jesus appeared on the seashore and asked Peter – three times – if he loved Him, then told him to feed His sheep.
We closed with a time of prayer, sharing personal prayer requests and also praying for the millions who have been affected by truly severe weather – hurricanes. We challenged each other to “feed His sheep” by caring for God’s children by providing spiritual and physical food.
Don’t fail to gather for worship, whether in a great cathedral or on a sandy beach. Jesus said, “…where two or three gather in my name, I will join you.” (Paraphrase)
Although the pages of my Bible got wet that morning, eight people certainly felt His presence.