Jesus, I love the sparkly red and green that help celebrate Your birth. Frankly, though, just as those colors clash with orange, Christmas promotions gobble up Thanksgiving. No time for honoring You, the Giver of all good things. So, OMG, at our house, orange will linger longer!
Sunday, when I worship Christ with His family and grow in my faith, is my favorite day of the week. However, even a confirmed church lady occasionally experiences a Sunday that makes her wish it was Monday.
Those tough Sundays happened more frequently during my years as a church music director.
One unholy morning, my pastor met me at the door. He’d changed his sermon topic on the way to church. Would I please restructure the service in five minutes? Thank you.
Half the choir music had disappeared. Who steals church choir music?
The regular accompanist had left on vacation. Our substitute struggled, but she played loud to make up for it. During practice, I sneaked a signal to our young sound man, Dylan. Turn the piano down.
I fastened a microphone to my lapel and hung its little black box on my waistband. Dylan usually did a good job, but this morning, the sound system hated us both. After squawking and squeaking sound checks, I quickly made a restroom stop before heading downstairs to warm up the choir. Without warning, the microphone leaped from my lapel and dove into the toilet, followed by the clunk of the little black box.
I screamed, clearing the restroom of primping churchgoers.
Did I really have to fish the mic out of the toilet?
Its green power light no longer shone. I wiped the microphone with a dampened paper towel, then tried to dry it. As I headed to the sound booth, I pasted on a toothpaste-ad smile and avoided shaking hands.
Dylan was also a church board member. What could I say?
In a microsecond, I evaluated my fib files. None came close to explaining this.
I held out the still-damp, $200 device. “Dylan, I dropped the mic in the toilet. I’m sorry.”
He stared, then whipped around to test a second mic. “Hurry! Service starts soon.”
No threats of dragging me before the Inquisition. Or the budget committee.
The little green light on this second mic shone like a candle of compassion. I rewired myself, incredulous at his forbearance.
Decades later, I remember that complicated Sunday, when I wished with all my heart it was Monday.
Thanks to a fellow Christian’s maturity, not so unholy, after all.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever experienced a complicated Sunday?
This post first appeared on November 22, 2017.
No doubt, our Creator appreciates gratitude for freedom to worship Him, for family, friends, food and shelter. But my cornucopia also bursts with weird things for which I am thankful, including:
Avocados. As a missionary kid in Mexico, I picked them up like apples under big trees. I still am a guacamole junkie. How many other fattening foods are good for me?
Shots. Immunizations don’t rank as my preferred activity, and certainly not my grandchildren’s. But because of shots’ protection, holiday hugs and kisses induce only mild winter plagues.
Black, washable pants. They love sparkly holiday tops and simple ones. They’re immune to stains and grandbaby spit. Roomy in the rear, they don’t desert me after the holidays, as many of my clothes do.
My piano. I don’t own a grand or even a baby grand. But my little Baldwin comprised our first major purchase after Hubby finished medical school. I thought we should spend his first paychecks on practical items. He insisted, “You miss having a piano.” Whenever I play, it still sings a love song.
Our baby trees, whose lanky little branches and colorful fall foliage inspire me with lavish dreams for their future.
Our camper. The one Hubby purchased when I was too sick to fight it. Even sitting idle, it sets us free. Already, we picture days in the green woods and s’mores around campfires on starry nights.
Gummy worms. Incredibly lifelike, they possess magical powers. When decorating a grandson’s birthday cake, they enable me to resist eating it.
Our brown sofa. Thank God, Hubby talked me out of buying a red one. Otherwise, after eight years, it would present a less-than-artistic mosaic of peanut butter, jelly, pizza, mustard and gravy stains. Because of, um, the grandchildren. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
My neighbor’s yard. Raked and pristine, it gives me a goal to shoot for when I grow up.
Free chips and salsa. A highlight of dining in Mexican restaurants.
Laid-back drivers. People who drive sl-o-o-ow-ly on two-lane highways annoy me to the point I pray aloud to occupy mind and mouth. They even force me to notice the loveliness I miss when whipping by as usual.
Accelerators. Cars wouldn’t be much good without them, right?
Ditto for brakes. And headlights.
Paper towels. While living in Ecuador for two months, I missed them terribly. (Thank goodness, Ecuador did manufacture toilet paper.)
Baby smiles. They always ruin a bad day.
A critic might protest, “Your list goes on forever!”
True. I never run out of weird things for which to be thankful, because my Creator never, ever stops giving.
He’s weird that way — and wonderful.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What odd reasons for gratitude pop up on your list?
O Lord, I’m so thankful. Yesterday, for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, our church choir, including Hubby and I, could join the angels in singing Your praises. We had to wear masks, and the angels didn’t. But OMG, what a joy to worship You together!
O Lord, sometimes sandy toes and grubby beach clothes accompany true worship, as when Hubby and I viewed Your heavens through our grandson’s eyes of wonder. OMG, what a holy moment!
First, we were advised not to go to church. Then forbidden to go.
I’ve attended since a newborn. As a toddler, I sat on the front pew as my mother played the piano. Mom dressed my brother and me in sleepers, as we nodded off before services ended.
Sleepers! In front of God and everybody! An indignity not to be endured.
Finally, Mom gave in, and I wore proper church attire.
Our small church supplied infinite hugs. I played hide-and-seek after services with friends more like cousins. And the potlucks! I still embrace the credo that the church supplies the ultimate food for both body and soul.
Best of all, I not only learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” at church, I grew in that truth.
As a teen, though, I fantasized about skipping services. Later, as a busy church music director, I occasionally longed to worship per TV, where everyone sang on key.
Sometimes, the following prayer cropped up: “God, just this Sunday, may I stay in bed?” Worshipping while wearing sleepers sounded downright spiritual.
Then the coronavirus, a dark angel, swooped in.
Watching online worship while wearing bathrobes, our shaggy-haired congregation probably looked quite biblical. So good to see our pastors. To drink in the Scriptures, living water for parched people in a COVID-19 desert.
Yet, a cyber hug can never replace a real one. When restrictions were lifted, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Except those — including seniors — considered high risk.
As a teen, I’d wanted to sneak out of services. Now I considered sneaking in.
Could I lie about my age to attend church? What if a bouncer carded me — “She’s got Medicare B!” — and tossed me out?
Reluctantly, Hubby and I continued online worship. The small congregation practiced “social distancing,” as if all had forgotten to shower. The long-haired, masked group resembled a gathering of hippie surgeons.
Yet, I ached to be there. …
Finally, when seniors received a sort-of green light, Hubby and I donned masks and went to church, sitting miles away from friends we’d missed so much.
My mask fogged my glasses, causing hymn lyrics to disappear. The mask contracted when I inhaled, poufed when I sang. Still, loving the church family voices around us, Hubby and I belted out hymns with vigor.
Despite the odd, reduced gathering, Jesus was there.
We and our brothers and sisters at home pray fervently that soon, we will all be together again. Meanwhile, we connect through prayer, technology, and conversations across yards, streets, and parking lots.
Above all, we connect through joy that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Even wearing sleepers for church can’t take that away.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Has the pandemic changed your church?
Lord, the little drummer boy in the Christmas song probably had the best intentions. But what newborn and tired mom need a kid banging on a drum? Sometimes, though, my own worship makes even less sense. Yet, OMG, You welcome me — and even ask for an encore.
O my God, when I worshipped in this beautiful place, an out-of-tune bullfrog quartet joined in my songs. They sounded like twangy rubber bands. They didn’t know the words. When I complained, You only smiled and said how much You enjoyed us all. OMG, could it be that your idea of worship and mine aren’t necessarily the same?
O. M. G. !