I go to church because I want something. I want to feel “full” by the time the hour’s over and I want to exit those doors with something I can chomp on throughout the week. Something to carry me through the weirdo challenges that life throws at me during Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And of course, to tell, sing and meditate my thank you to God for getting me through the previous week.
So, like any other Sunday, I went. And I got fed.
But I didn’t think the food would have me praying a schizophrenic prayer.
The topic was “Forgiveness” and how forgiveness and forgiving is our most critical need as humans. The Mayo Clinic even has studies to prove it. As the pastor talked about how when we hold on to old hurts, old words and deeds, they take root and rupture the foundation of our lives I sat. Ears pricked, but I was, admittedly, a tad smug. Seriously...I’ve let old hurts go and my life is pretty peachy. But then he said something that got me in my gut: he asked us to think about whether there was someone in our lives who, if they sat down next to us – right now – would evoke some kind of visceral reaction. Hoohboy. At least five people came to mind. Cringe. We were reminded that praying for those very folks could release us from bitterness and stress and all the other kinks that unforgiveness plants in us. So I prayed.
Then I straightened my halo and went home feeling good. I was full.
And then not even six hours later, Jamie ticked me off. Really ticked me off. [For real? I’m being tested on this stuff NOW? Jamie wasn’t even on my list of repulsive people! This blows.]
Okay, Lord I get it. I shall pass this test and pray for him:
Lord, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to say but could You move him? I mean, You made him, so You can fix him; there’s got to be some kind of warranty or something. Really, he’s wrong. I’m right. So please show him that I’m right.
An hour later:
Father, this is ridiculous. HE is being ridiculous. You said that I’m not supposed to let the sun go down on my anger, and it’s getting pretty late…so, uh… when are You going to shine the light on my…uh….righteousness? You do what's best in Your wisdom. My straightened halo and I shall wait patiently.
Two hours later:
Okay, this really sucks. And You’ll forgive me for saying ‘sucks’ because Your grace is boundless. Oh yeah, that’s right: Your grace is extends to me even when I say stuff like ‘sucks’ (and ‘blows’ earlier) so the least I can do is forgive him? Really forgive him? This is some yucky old food. Blech.
Three hours later:
I went to church to get fed today. Thanks for the food. I guess I didn’t count on it choking me on my pride. Thanks, Lord. I sure don’t like it, but I’ll thank You for it anyway. Besides, the sun’s been down for hours now. I get it.