Want to know why I love my church? I’ll tell you. On Sunday, as the pastor was wrapping up and about to head to the door in order to greet everyone on their way out, an old lady with a walker–same one as every week–began to be assisted by a younger gentlemen in an effort to get her out of the building before the rest of the congregation was formally dismissed. Nothing special has happened yet. But as she’s heading down the aisle, she, in full conversational volume, starts saying good-bye to all of her friends and offering them “blessings” as it were. So the pastor is talking into the microphone and at the same time this faithful parishioner is distractingly talking out loud to her friends. With me?
I still have an instinct to initially judge the woman and find the behavior inappropriate, but this week for some reason a better angel overtook me. In observing the entire scene from a removed vantage point, I actually gained more respect for the old church and its congregation. The woman’s willingness to talk and the pastor’s steady march to the end signaled that the church isn’t afraid of dying. It’s been there for 150 years, and is going to last at least 150 more. There is no need to act like the woman sinned because she said “good-bye” as she left. Should the Lord tarry, we’re all going to see each other again next Sunday. No big thing.
Maybe this seems insignificant to you, but to me it was yet again a refreshing take on an old, old story.