Uncommon Things at Church – Day 23 of Handmade


Most all of us have been to church before.

Some of us, again and again. And so, church can become common.

But occasionally, when we’re paying close attention to what God is doing, it turns into something else entirely. Something very uncommon.

This was not just another day at church.

Uncommon things at church


I arrive at church a few minutes before it starts. Several seats are already taken.

I walk to the back and an older gentleman says, “Hi.”

We shake hands, and I say, “I’m Lisa.” He tells me his name—Walter—then suggests we take seats together.

Although it is my first day attending Outdoor Church, Walt obviously is an old-timer. He knows how to welcome visitors.

It is a hot morning with little breeze. Walt asks if Jenna and I would like some cold water. Before we can answer, he hops up, cane in hand, and brings back two bottles of water.

Walt tells me he is singing at today’s service. He likes to sing. “For the glory of God,” he says.

I already believe him.

The service begins. My new friend Walt knows the words to all the songs. Now it’s time for his a capella solo.

Can he sing?

Kingdom Life

Oh, yes, he can sing!

Afterward, Walt sits back down. He leans over to me, and grins, “Didn’t I do it?”

Oh, yes, Walter Baby Love, you did it.

He says he has a name like that for a reason. Now I understand.

After the sermon, I get in line for communion with Walter Baby Love and other poor and homeless brothers and sisters gathered on the hot asphalt. Maybe some don’t understand—can’t understand—but many do.

We hold the bread, dip it in juice, and take it in.

I take it in.

And take it in. And take it in.

This is kingdom living.

  • Sounds of praise
  • Goodness of Jesus
  • Grace for all

Jeff is grilling when we round the corner after church is over. He and other volunteers from Manna House serve a feast of burgers, hot dogs, and all the fixings for the guests.

All free.
Full souls.
Forever friends.

The kingdom has indeed come.

It is right here. I’m glad to be in it.

And I’m glad brothers like Walter Baby Love are in it, too.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6:10

[Click here if you can’t see “Walter Sings”]

That day happened in 2012.

My uncommon friend Walt has since passed on. We were able to worship together several times after that day, whether at Outdoor Church, in an elevator with other friends, or on the balcony of his apartment.

I still miss Walter Baby Love. He was an uncommon man. I’ve never met anyone else exactly like him.

And when I hear someone praising God with extra vigor and intention, I miss him the most.

Three Questions

Here are our three questions of the day:

(1) What’s the most unusual church you’ve attended?

(2) Is there a song that gets you every time?

(3) When have you had an uncommon day with God at church or outside of church?

* * *

What are your answers? Please share in the comments.

My answers

(1) Outdoor Church is probably the most unique and unpredictable church I go to.

(2) Even though it’s been played a lot, Reckless Love still wrecks me every single time I hear it.

(3) Watching Jenna’s 1st graders paint and sing worship music in the background.

More here

revised from the archives

Get the whole Handmade series here

Handmade - Finding God in Your Story

9 thoughts on “Uncommon Things at Church – Day 23 of Handmade

  1. Laurie

    Walter Baby Love sounds like he was a special guy. You are lucky you got to know him!
    When my boys were little, we used to go to church on Saturday evening. There were not too many people at this service, but we loved it. Until the singing began. My boys were not, um, vocally gifted, but what they lacked in talent, they made up for in volume. Many times parishioners would turn around to look at us to see who was making the terrible racket. When they saw it was 3 little boys, they would usually smile. Great memories! 🙂

  2. Boma

    Thanks for sharing, Lisa. The story brings to mind, “Mercy drops round us are falling”. Blessings to you. I’ve had many uncommon days at Church when someone says something that directly addresses a need I have (and they don’t even know it!)

  3. Karen Friday

    “This is kingdom living.

    Sounds of praise
    Goodness of Jesus
    Grace for all”

    Wow, Lisa, just wow! Love everything about this post and Walter Baby Love. 🙂

    I’ve attended several unusual churches, but the one that stands out is one in Oklahoma where there was a diverse audience in attendance and everyone was encouraged to participate in worship. Flags, tambourines, and so on were at the altar for anyone to grab and use to display worship to the Lord.

  4. Linda Stoll

    I considered Celebrate Recovery the most real, authentic ‘church’ I ever had the privilege to be a part of. No airs. No masks. Just broken hearts and wounded souls so thrilled to have been redeemed.

    That group is no more, for many reasons. But our memories remain,
    filled with gratitude for that season … a little glimpse of heaven.

  5. Jerralea

    I love the story of Walter Baby Love!

    Recently I attended a church service of a bunch of people that could not carry a tune but made up for it in enthusiasm! It was my grandmother’s home church and I couldn’t help but think she was looking from heaven and smiling at all the young moms singing their heart out!

    The song that gets me every time is Peace Be Still. When we get to the part that says our sins, not in part, but the whole, are nailed to the cross and I bear it no more! It wrecks me!

    I have uncommon days with God when I go to my favorite lake and worship His beauty and creativity!

  6. Kit Tosello

    Such a lovely post, Lisa, and a great prompt. My mind went to worshipping in a church in Mexico, hearing songs I knew sung beautifully in a different language. Seeing how true Jesus passion is universal. I was forever changed by the reality of an international sisterhood and brotherhood.

  7. Tiffiney

    Hey Lisa, what a lovely post! These kinds are my favorite. I live that church experience you referenced, and I like good ol’ Walter. I never even met him and I miss him. ☺ And how about that sing he sung? That’s definitely the way to have church.

    I can’t think of any usual churches I’ve been to. I guess they were all ordinary. Lol!

  8. floyd samons

    I remember the story about Walter… What a blessing God gave us in him.

    One Easter sunrise service was on the beach of the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful.

    “Prone to wander Lord I feel it…”

    Every time I do an in depth Bible study it seems miraculously uncommon…

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