My church experience yesterday was something of a comedy of errors. It began with running slightly late for church. I had decided to go to a large church about 20 minutes away from my house, for which I only gave myself 18 minutes to arrive on time. Instead of rushing and arriving stressed and tightly-wadded, I decided that it wasn’t the end of the world if I miss a worship song. I even stopped at a Starbucks for my favorite cup of coffee as a way of celebrating this great entrance into the world of the happy glowing people—you know, those who stay chipper and optimistic despite negative twists. I know, I know … sometimes I hate them too, but you know you want to be like them when you grow up.
So here I am, sipping on my venti coffee—yeah, I went for the big one—and attempting to pull up the church on my map app on my phone. Because the devil loves to use technology to make my Irish emerge, it would not find a route for me to follow to the church. Hey Satan, if you want me to think that I can’t get there from here, you should’ve waited to pull this stunt for when I visited a significantly smaller church. So I simply read the map like a pioneer woman and hit the road, applauding my retention of positivity with great satisfaction.
When I finally arrived at the church, I was fifteen minutes late but looking forward to the service. I confidently pranced right on in to the church with my coffee in hand, comforted by the other late arrivers around me. The greeter at the entrance of the sanctuary was extra peppy and had such a sincere air that I was really getting a good vibe from this church. As I reached the auditorium-style sanctuary, I was so intent on finding a strategic seat (you know how important that is) that I didn’t realize the man standing next to me was actually talking to me. I caught on to what he was saying on his fourth attempt at communication. “No coffee is allowed in the sanctuary,” he said apologetically.
You gotta be kidding me
If I’d had a free hand, I would’ve smacked my palm to my forehead. But between my venti coffee, Bible/notebook combo and stylishly slouchy purse, I was doing good to not have my sunglasses held between my teeth. I thought about explaining to the man how I had treated myself to the largest coffee Starbucks has to offer and how there’s no way I’m throwing $5 of liquid gold in the trash, but decided the worship band was too loud for me to get my point across. So I simply walk back to the foyer and inwardly debated the wisdom of chugging 20 ounces of strong coffee before sitting for an indeterminate amount of time. It went like this:
I love coffee, but I’m a sipper. There’s no way I’ll be able to finish this in the minute that is left in this worship song. Even if I can chug-a-lug that fast, ladies don’t do that in public! Wait, since when do I care about being the consummate lady? Curse my sister for getting into my head with this how-a-lady-should-act nonsense. I should’ve been a dude. It’d be so easy. I’d be ridiculously chivalrous. I could walk around with hairy legs and no shirt all the time and no one would have anything bad to say about me. We girls definitely got the short end of the stick on that one. Stupid gender stereotypes. Back to coffee. I’ll do an extra-long ladylike sip. Yeah. *attempts extra-long ladylike sip* Sweet baby Jesus, there’s a ton of coffee in this thing! I’ll never be able to finish it and sit through the entire service. Goodbye $2.77.
As I walk away from the trash can that holds my wasted money, I swear I can hear Satan giggling. Little turd.
By the time I find a nice aisle seat, the worship time is over and all of the thousand-plus people are sitting down. In my haste I don’t realize the bible and purse sitting next to the seat. I’m in someone’s seat. Of course I am. But not just anyone’s seat—no, I’m in a mother of four’s seat. I figure that little nugget out when I look to my left and find four pairs of little eyes staring daggers at me, the seat thief. I leap up and shuffle past them to the middle of the long row of chairs. They didn’t forgive me for the rest of the service. Don’t ask how I know that. Some things you just know.
So you see why my morning was a comedy of errors. Once I found an unoccupied seat, I highly enjoyed the message. The pastor dug really deeply into the Scriptures and really made me think about the character of God. It was one of those sermons that you really had to focus intently on, or you would miss a key theological detail that just made you sit back and be amazed at the depth of our God. There were tons of verses to support the pastor’s statements, which is so comforting. You could tell that this was a learning church, and I’m a learning person. See the connection? I wound up taking notes on both the outline provided and my notebook, just so I wouldn’t miss a key point.
Unfortunately, Satan’s little tap dance on my morning left me unable to participate in the worship aspect of the service. I’ll definitely be returning to this church soon to get a better feel for it. I’ll let you know how it goes!