Monday, July 30, 2012

The Church Service, the Shuddering, the Park and Friends – Oh Boy!

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The Church Service, the Shuddering, the Park and Friends – Oh Boy!

I begin with the way that I stopped on my last posting… Sheesh!

Since Friday’s encounter at Miss K and Mr. K’s place, the thinking about them and their young family, meeting some more folk that with more but different needs… my battery is drained this AM.

When you try to sort out the needs that you encounter it gets real complicated at times.  The politicians/authorities that need to be notified, the messes of lives that some people leave behind them and the general exposure to lives that are twisted and bent… kind of get to me at times.

No no… that wasn’t about the K’s living conditions… it was about another place called “church” – you know the place that good people go Sunday morning.  I attended another one this weekend and it was hard.

After it was all over, in the afternoon we headed to the Park to sit by the lake.  I faded into my lawn chair to try to push away the thoughts that flooded my mind.

I shuddered as I closed my eyes yesterday afternoon… as the face of the six or so people in the church Sunday morning came back to my mind.  I shuddered again as I remembered their body language as they sat stiffly with arms crossed and never sang one word of the hymns and chorus being sung. 

I hadn’t encountered this kind “The Force be with you!(or at you)” for a long while now.  Some of the folk sitting there were really not happy… that was before I spoke and got turned on about getting happier and doing something in the community… and how Jesus was unhappy with his Disciples for their unbelief (Mark 16:9-18 – you know…and then gave them “The Great Commission”) and told them to go into all the world and make a difference. Oh boy!

In the song service they never sang.  They did stand up when asked to, and then sat down when everyone else did.

I looked at them in the early part of the service. I purposefully turned around and watched them.  I had to know what I was involved in and who was going to possibly listen to what I was going to say. It was not like being on the Radio or TV – and not knowing who the audience is.

It is worse by far because you can see them and your silly brain records what you see.

I was in a different church and filling in for the vacationing pastor.

As I closed my eyes in the Park… I shuddered again… would the poor minister returning from his vacation encounter a firestorm of lovely complaining Christians when he came back?

I wish I could have just gone to the church and led a song that my kids used to sing the Barney Song… “I love you, You love me, We’re happy family… la la la”.  Then I could just walk out… yikes… shudder again.

Leaving that church for a few moments… the reality is that the church is not all that happy generally.  One likes this, another hates it. Another loves that but half the group protests and says a loud “NO!”  We come together to disagree on most things but agree that we are not happy.

That is likely why we stopped singing that old Hippy type of church song… you know… “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love… oh yes they will know we are Christians by our love!”

The Hippy types that came to church a few years ago dressed weird and acted weird – and never looked like a Christian – and they knew it. So they wrote a song about what they did rather than what they looked like.

At least the folks were honest Sunday morning. They didn’t like – whatever.  But you can never tell if it was their breakfast that did it, the bad service at the restaurant/coffee shop on the way to church or maybe their Gall Bladder was killing them as they sat there? 

Maybe they just had a Royal Battle in the car on the way to church? You know… she though they had time to go to Tim Horton’s on the way to church and he was upset because the coffee wouldn’t be cool enough to drink before they went in!  Stupid idea – he said so and she took offence…?

Didn’t you know that tidbit?  People fight with each other in the car before they get to church. It is true. The teens that I worked with at one point told me they hated coming to church because mom and dad fought with each other in the car and then sang stupid songs about love Sunday morning!

I shuddered again… there sitting off to right side of the church was a young mom with her kids.  One was her baby that had a feeding tube into her little body. One was a cute young girl that had a nice dress on and was wearing her mother’s high-heeled shoes – all dressed up for church.

When the service came to an end, most people left rather quickly. Oh boy!

I stood at the front speaking with some folks casually – the happy ones.  One lady from the congregation plunked herself down on the front pew and stated clearly that, “We sure are a grouchy bunch!”, then shook her head. I think she had been in the foyer. Oh boy!

The young mom wanted to speak with me. The conversation was very friendly. She is a sharp gal. Her story told me the rest.

This was the first time she had come to church. She lives right next door in a nice apartment. Oh I wished that we had more time to help her… but it was good she sat right at the front on the right hand side with her kids… she never saw ‘the mighty six’.

Back sitting in the Park I shuddered again.  Oh well – I guess I won’t be going back to that church again… oh boy… breathe deeply and keep breathing…

Later as I sat at my carving bench in the Park I concentrated on what needed to be carved.  But the thoughts still swirled…

It was then that God sent two Angels to minister to me… two friends that we have known for a longtime dropped by just then with their lawn chairs.  Their happy voices and laughter did what it should – picked me right up.

As seasoned Christians they have gone through lots but still laugh with us.  In fact I can say – they are good for us.

And knowing that they came to the Park to see us… meant a lot.

They didn’t know that I was shuddering with “The Force Be at you” thing. They had no idea what I was internalizing at that minute.  But they simply said we are with you – by being there at the right time!

On boy… shudder again… The pastor returns from his vacation on Wednesday… may the general “Gall Bladder” problems or whatever will be passed by then… and maybe somehow someone in the church will reach out to that young mom…

Oh boy!
~ Murray Lincoln ~

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