by Sarah Luna
Last Sunday, my car battery died, and I was unable to visit the church I had planned to visit.
Today I went back to First Presbyterian Church. Again I was welcomed. An unintended consequence of visiting the different churches in and around Ithaca is that I’m discovering what exactly I value.
And it surprised me that what I value very highly is how congregations treat their children. I thought it would be the quality of the sermon or the worship that would sway me most. And there certainly are styles that I prefer. But it is the children’s ministry that shows me just how invested the church is.
I’ve visited churches where the children were an afterthought. They were expected to sit quietly, and that was it. At First Presbyterian Church, the children are welcomed and included. The pastor calls them up and speaks to them first.
I enjoyed the adult sermon as well, but what has stuck with me was the final hymn. I’d never heard “Lord, you have come to the lakeshore” before, and it is absolutely beautiful. It was originally written in Spanish by the Catholic priest Msgr. Cesario Gabarain.
Tú has venido a la orilla,
no has buscado ni a sabios ni a ricos.
Tan sólo quieres que yo te siga.
Señor, me has mirado a los ojos,
sonriendo has dicho mi nombre.
En la arena he dejado mi barca:
junto a Ti buscaré otro mar.
Tú sabes bien lo que tengo,
en mi barca no hay oro ni espada,
tan sólo redes y mi trabajo.
Tú necesitas mis manos,
mi cansancio que a otros descanse,
amor que quiera seguir amando.
Tú, pescador de otros lagos,
ansia eterna de hombres que esperan.
Amigo bueno que así me llamas.