Sundays Are Sacred
It’s summer 2020 and longtime McFarlin members Polly Christian and her son Michael have just sat down for worship with coffee on one side, Bible on the other, and a computer screen in front of them.
Pastor Rockford, Pastor Wendi, Dr. Z and others lead worship from the Sanctuary as Polly and Michael follow along to the hymns and bow their heads during prayer, reminding themselves that so many others in their church family are doing the same thing from their own home sanctuaries.
During the pandemic, technology brought the church together despite being physically apart, and for that Polly and Michael are so grateful. Fast forward two years and they can testify to what a difference it makes for them to be able to worship side by side with their church family and friends in the same room.
Polly: [During Covid] I ended up going to like three different church services throughout the day from my living room. So I was churched, but I missed being in communion with everyone.
Michael: I’m thankful we had online services during Covid, but I like being in person more. I get more out of being here in person and hearing the message in person.
Polly: There’s just a feeling that when I was in the Sanctuary I’m there in God’s presence.
Michael: I feel like God is wrapping his arms around me.
Worship has always been an important part of Polly’s life. As a child, Polly would visit her aunt in Norman, and each visit she looked forward to Sunday worship at McFarlin. Those experiences led her to join McFarlin’s choir while she attended OU. After she married her husband Fred, they made McFarlin their official church home in 1971 and they raised their family at McFarlin.
Polly passed along her love of church to her children, not as a weekly task to check off the list on Sundays, but as a way to set aside the beginning of each week to spend time with God and each other.
Polly: Worship is a way of starting your week in the right direction. It gives me something to contemplate during the rest of the week.
Michael: For me, it allows me to get my thoughts and my week started off in the right way and allows God’s spirit to work through me throughout the week. When I was growing up, this is what we did, it was part of our weekend. I’m very thankful to my parents because it’s what helped mold me and helped me grow. Just like Scott was talking about the potter and the clay, with us being the clay and God being the potter molding us.
One of Polly’s favorite parts of Sunday worship is the music. It’s a way for her to connect her love of music and her love of God. Polly has been serving McFarlin as a choir member for over 25 years and her love of music is just as fervent as it was when she first joined.
Polly: I grew up with traditional hymns and I’ve always loved music. I’ve been singing in choirs since I was a kid. For me it’s a way of worshipping and singing but also a way of hearing God’s story. If you stop and really read the words to so many hymns, you can feel the deep truth residing in the words.
McFarlin’s choir doesn’t just impact Polly on Sunday mornings. This group of people have become her family, her lifeline when she needs support, encouragement and love.
Polly: When my husband Fred suddenly died, the church was there to help us all. I can testify that McFarlin did what churches are supposed to do. And the choir was my backbone. Singing just meant so much to me during that time.
Michael is also no stranger to serving at McFarlin. Prior to the pandemic, he was a faithful volunteer on Thursdays stuffing bulletins and helping with all-church mailings. This summer, Michael was approached by Sanctuary Worship Coordinator, Daphne Fix, with an opportunity to be an usher during Sunday worship and by saying yes, he’s encountered an abundance of blessings through serving others.
Michael: Being an usher is a good way to help me stay connected to the church and see everybody and say hello and good morning. Seeing people eye to eye, I like to interact with people as much as I can and it’s just something that I’ve really enjoyed.
As the world continues to adjust and adapt, worship at McFarlin remains a sacred place for people to meet together–side by side or across living rooms–to sing, pray, fellowship and grow together, confident that with open hearts and spirits in communion with God and each other, we can show the world what it looks like to be a community of transformative and world- changing love.