Part 1 ~ Our Church: Golgotha
Sundays were my favorite. Early in the morning, before the sun rose, Father knocked on my bedroom door. I dressed quickly in the pre-dawn dimness, and we drove to church together, just us two. A quick stop for the customary chocolate crème pie from a gas station, and then we would be at Golgotha*, pulling into the empty lot before anyone else arrived for church.
Father ran the bus ministry. In that morning stillness, I snuggled into an extra coat of his to protect my church dress, and ‘helped’ him check the fluids and tire pressure on the old school bus. When I was a young child, I rode with him off to the shelters to pick up all of the homeless who were willing to submit to a sermon for a chance at a hearty lunch and a shower. Later, after we met John and his wife Mary*, that would change and I would be left at the church alone in the morning stillness, usually ending up in the mysterious choir loft, suspended high above the sanctuary.
I loved Golgotha. I know now that it was unique – a charismatic Lutheran church. That never happens. But it did. As a child, I only knew that it was a wonderful church. We sang hymns and praise music. I was an altar-child and carried the taper lights and the cross up the center aisle at the beginning of the service, along with most of my age-mates. We wore long robes and sang in the choir, and took communion every Sunday. We kept to the yearly order of readings, but we also had regular altar calls and a praise dance troupe. I could have been happy there forever, and I think Father would have been as well, but Mother wanted more.