STAYING CONNECTED IN A TIME OF ISOLATION, Day 68

Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 68, May 20, 2020
“I was glad”

Church has been such a good place for me. My experiences of church and my memories of church are ones that are filled with gladness. I do not know how many times I have stood to welcome you all to worship and the first thing out of my mouth are the words of the psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’” (Psalm 122:1)

I am glad for the humor we have in church. Without church we would not have about 90% of the jokes ever written. A common thread tying many a good church joke together has to do with people falling asleep during worship…or more specifically, during the pastor’s sermon. Julie’s dad was especially fond of the one about the preacher who was notorious for preaching long sermons. The choir loft in that particular church was directly behind the pastor.

• One Sunday morning it seemed the sermon would never end as the preacher droned on and on. Finally, someone in the choir picked up a hymnal and fired it at the preacher, hoping to knock him out and bring the sermon to a merciful end. Unfortunately, the choir member’s aim was off. The hymnal missed the preacher and hit a woman in the first pew. The hymnal smacked her right in the center of her forehead. She fell to the ground. As her husband knelt over her, he asked with great concern, “Darling, are you alright?” She moaned in a low voice, a voice that was barely audible, “No, I can still hear the preacher.”

For some reason Julie’s dad loved that joke. I never quite understood why, until I led a group of church members on a trip to Italy. Much of our time was spent traveling by bus. As the bus rolled along through the beautiful countryside, especially on afternoons that followed a bountiful lunch comprised of the most amazing food you could imagine, I would often find myself growing drowsy, and eventually falling asleep. It happened often enough that my napping on the bus made an impression on our tour guide. At one point as she was speaking to us on the bus she said, “I have never seen anyone fall asleep so quickly as your pastor.” To which my good friend Mark boomed from the back of the bus, “You should see us when he preaches.”

Ah, church humor. Honestly, I am glad for good church humor. It is such a blessing to laugh together.

I am glad for the humor we have in church and I am glad for the unexpected interruptions we have in church. Church is normally meant to be a place of welcome, but one Sunday church had an unwelcome visitor. A wasp wandered into worship. That wasp must have felt very safe entering a Presbyterian Church…after all, Presbyterians are known for being the Frozen Chosen. What harm could become a wasp in a Presbyterian Church? That wasp found out what harm awaited as on his way toward an alert member his path of flight was interrupted by a swat of the hand sending that poor wasp whirling to the other side of the church where even more trouble lurked. On that other side of the church a member was waiting with his bulletin. Employing the bulletin in a way never imagined by the worship committee, that wasp met his fate as he was squashed and sealed inside the pages of the bulletin. Proud of his triumph that church member lifted the bulletin high in the air as the congregation broke out in cheers and loud applause.

I am glad for humor and unexpected interruptions and…for those beautiful times when a person finds their place in the community of faith. I was talking with a guy a few years ago who said he grew up in a home where neither one of his parents believed in God. When he was ten years-old he said something in his heart was yearning to learn about God. His parents were not going to take him to church, so he got on his bicycle and rode around in search of a church. The first church he found was a Presbyterian Church. Unlike the wasp in our previous story, the people of that church welcomed the little ten-year-old boy and his bicycle. That church told him about Jesus Christ. The man said he was looking for Christ and he found him. I thought he meant he found Christ. He clarified that when he said, “Christ found me.” Christ found a ten-year-old boy in a church that had the wisdom to welcome that little boy and his bicycle.

I’m glad about a lot of things when it comes to church. I’m glad church has humor. I’m glad for unexpected surprises. But most of all I’m glad because of Christ, who has this amazing way of finding us. I’m glad for the Christ who finds us, who welcomes us, who forgives us, who cleanses us, who fills us, and who wraps us in his arms of love. No wonder that time and time again, as we gather to worship our awesome and amazing God we begin with these words, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.’”

With the love of Christ,
Wayne