Most folks who know me well know at least 2 things about me: 1) I love to sing, and 2) I have moved a lot. (They may not know the total so far is 14 times.) One of the most important ways I found to maintain my sanity with each move was to find a church, and thus a choir, to join. At first finding a church was pretty much just for the choir, but as time went on, I found I needed ‘real’ church as well. Though I wasn’t aware of it then, a faith journey was born. My family had been life-long Presbyterians, my grandfather was, in fact, a Presbyterian pastor. My dad was an Elder (kind of like being on Leadership Circle at SACC), and had a deep and abiding faith though he didn’t shove it down our throats. We did read a Bible verse each morning before breakfast, and were quizzed on the sermon each Sunday as we drove home. Church and Sunday School were routine. When I was in 3rd grade, I was finally eligible to join the children’s choir, which provided another social outlet every Wednesday afternoon and a chance to sing. But I never thought much about faith during my growing up years.
Fast forward through a number of moves and a number of churches and choirs, to 1989 in Stamford, CT. A tiny Presbyterian church welcomed us after the larger and more ‘fancy’ Presbyterian Church seemed oblivious to us the Sunday we visited. I became involved in that church on many levels, one of which meant attending Bible Study, led by the pastor’s husband. I remember his description of a ‘faith journey’ as climbing a mountain, step by step, with occasional stops for rest, a lot of admiring the view, and some back sliding too. The goal was always the top, but it was the journey that mattered. As I absorbed this idea of a journey towards faith as opposed to a faith that was taken for granted, I began to take my own faith more seriously. The move away from that church was hard. We were heading to Lima, Peru. My youngest child had just gone off to college. I loved our house and yard, which bordered on the CT state Arboretum, 65 acres of woodland. I had a number of really good friends and a place in the community. That last Sunday in tiny Turn of River Presbyterian Church, the choir director chose a hymn I had never heard. ‘Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore’. We sing it often at SACC. As tears poured down my cheeks, I sang:
“Lord, you have come to the Lakeshore, looking neither for wealthy nor wise ones; you only asked me to follow humbly. Oh Lord, with your eyes you have searched me, and while smiling, have spoken my name, now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me, by your side, I will seek other seas.”
It seemed as if God were speaking directly to me. I was called to leave comfort and familiarity and embrace a new challenge, and carry my faith with me as I went. And it was clear that God would be with me, would be ‘by my side’. That hymn still makes me cry!
All of our faith journeys are unique. Mine brought me to Saint Andrew as I searched for a progressive church that reflected my values and my conviction that a Christian must reflect Christ’s values to others. My faith has grown and matured here, but that mountain top is still distant. Which is just fine with me. We’re traveling together, you and I, climbing that mountain, each in our own time. If I falter, I trust that you will pick me up and help me find my footing again. I promise to do the same for you.
Luke 5:11: So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him.
Sara has been a member of SACC for 12 years. In her spare time, she sings with the KC Women's Chorus (concert coming up!), tries to stay fit, and visits her kids and grandkids on the West Coast as often as possible.