This week is a very important week at our church. I happen to go to a very large church that has thirteen locations, plus an online church that ministers to people all over the world. But every year, we take a few evenings and meet together. People fly in from different countries--last year, I met a woman from South Africa who didn't know what a burrito was--and we rent a casino's event center. We call it Jubilee.
Jubilee has been going on for over thirty years, but we've only been meeting at the casino event center for four years or so. But it's a good thing that we've upgraded, because there are literally thousands of people that attend. We fill up the auditorium with seats and still have to cram people into the bleachers. Once a few years ago, they asked young people to sit on the floor because they were running out of seats for everyone.
Anyway, yesterday was a very special night for me. The pastor who spoke was from Scotland.
Pastor John Donnelly is a wonderful man of God who pastors Glen Aros church in Dumfries, Scotland. I've had the honor of running into him at almost every Jubilee so far. Last year, I even gave him a copy of Where the Clouds Catch Fire. He was thrilled to meet an author and eagerly introduced me to his wife, Susan. This is us last year.
Pastor John usually starts off with a funny story. The first time I heard him, he had everyone in stitches by personalizing the "W.C. Joke" that had apparently been used on some sort of late-night show. (I thought it was a true story until I relayed it to someone who'd heard it before.) Yesterday, he told a story about being at a conference with Pastor Duane (my pastor) and Andrew Womack. He felt small compared to the giants of the faith he was surrounded by. Finally, a woman came up to him and inquired if she could ask a question.
Pastor John smiled, wondering why she was asking him rather than Pastor Duane or Pastor Andrew. He wondered if he had some sort of wisdom that they didn't have, or some fountain of knowledge they hadn't unlocked yet. Finally, the woman said, "Pastor John--Pastor John, how do you get your head so shiny?"
"It's the annointin' of God!"
He also cracks jokes about his accent. He's learned how to tone it down just enough for us Americans to understand it, but it still makes for a few good laughs. He mentioned "hillwalking," which is apparently the Scottish term for hiking, but sounds like "hell-walking." And since quite a few of his i's come out like e's, don't ask what happens to the number six when he says it aloud.
I hope to run into him again this Jubilee. He's been reclusive--I think he's been filming things especially for the online church, because I haven't seen him walking around like he has before. I'm working nursery tonight, so I won't be able to see him. And since I'm playing piano at three services this weekend, I'm not sure I'll make it to tomorrow night, the last night of Jubilee.
Speaking of this weekend, we have James Brown--who hosts NFL Today on CBS--speaking at our church this Saturday at 4:00 and 5:45. You can watch the service online at live.vl.church/ and, if you look in the far shadows of the stage, you might be able to see me playing the piano during worship.
Have you ever been to Jubilee? And since I'm not really a sports person, what do you think of James Brown if you've ever seen his show? Let me know in the comments below! God bless, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.