On our way home from Atlanta we decided on a stop-over in Gainesville to see Janna. Her roommate was away so the guys crashed at her place and Nancy and I got a room at the local Motel 6. They left a light on for us, but they should have told the other guests when to turn it off. Some kids decided to re-enact the Florida Relays around the second floor balcony at about 12:30 AM. I've stayed at a Motel 6 before, but this was more like the "no-tell motel". As far as I could tell the guest list was out of a Flannery O'Conner novel. Every now and then a car alarm would go off and I would check the window to made sure the van was still there. Later things calmed down when a voice outside announced that someone had called the cops. So much for sleep.
We stopped at Starbucks (yes!) for coffee and scones before picking up the kids - a welcome repast.
Janna goes to Creekside Community Church, an Evangelical Free congregation that was around when I was at UF. Upon parking we saw Ed and Elna Barnard, who were active at the Alliance church with us back in the day. ed was an elder there and gave me much wise counsel during my formative years. We had a mini-reunion! We then bumped into Toby and Linda Sorrells, who we knew from UF days and who also were good friends at Trinity in Chicago with us. Toby is now on staff at Creekside and has worked with International Friendships in the past. It was truly a walk down memory lane. The worship was great and the message from James 4-5 was solid.
Somehow a small bird had entered the sanctuary and spent various parts of the service flying around the ceiling. It was distracting, but pretty cool. I though of Psalms 84:3 "Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God." I could have thought the bird was worshiping with us until it ran into the projector screen and the congregation emitted a collective "ohh!" in the middle of "My Redeemer Lives"!
But it was good to re-connect with good friends. And the hope for future connection remains.