Sunday, June 05, 2011

just your typical Sunday

Just your typical Sunday morning.

Very nice prelude by the organist; announcements about the Heifer Project luncheon next week, a piano recital this afternoon including twin sisters from the church, a reminder about wearing red next Sunday for Pentecost; good job done by the lay liturgist with the opening parts of the service; the typical enthusiastic singing by the congregation.

The scripture lessons (we use all four designated by the lectionary) were read, with time for silence and reflection after each one.  The choir shared a superb anthem that connected with the Lord's Supper we would be celebrating later in the service.  The sermon?  Well, maybe a B- today - talking about the 'tools of the trade' we are given as God's people and how we might use them (while wearing a tool belt and using some 'visuals' as examples).  After that, I invited folks to remember all the blessings God had given them and to share from that abundance as we offered our tithes and gifts to God.

That's when it happened.

I glanced to the back and saw that there was only one usher ready to take up the offering.  I figured Bob, being the rather proper person he is (always a coat and tie on Sunday), would simply ask one of the other folks sitting in the back to help, as usually happens.  But he went over to Paul and asked him.  I could tell by Paul's reaction that he thought he was being asked to put something in the plate, and Paul has nothing to put in the plate, as Paul is mentally challenged, usually disheveled, always seeking food and other things when he comes to church; so, Paul simply shook his head 'no.'  Then Bob said something else, and Paul got a quizzical look on his face.  Bob spoke again, and handed Paul the other offering plate, and together they went up the center aisle to begin taking up the offering.

Mr. Dressed-In-His-Sunday-Best and Mr. Wearing-Whatever-He-Put-On-This-Morning living out the gospel before our very eyes, the soft petals of grace gently falling on the carpet behind them as they journeyed together down the main street of the kingdom.  The Spirit must have thrown some grit in our eyes, for many of us were blinking pretty rapidly; God must have turned up the sun because it seemed just a bit brighter in there; and I could swear I heard Jesus whisper, 'finally, finally.'

And then we gathered at that Table where the homeless will offer their brokenness to the owners of McMansions so that all might be healed; where little children will hold their grace-filled sippy cups to the mouths of those with palsied hands; where those who have trouble putting two thoughts together will explain the gospel to professors of philosophy; where the voiceless will have the solo part in the anthem; where the gospel is not just a book on the shelf but Bob, Paul, and the rest of us living our lives.

Just your typical Sunday morning.

© 2011  Thom M. Shuman

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