November 16, 2015

The Umpteenth Sunday after Pentecost - NaBloPoMo

Get out and I’ll park. Just find a spot.

It’s gray, cold, and clammy. Misting enough to make kinky hair get kinkier, but not enough to merit an umbrella. I’m happy for the favor, especially because we’re running late. My daughter and I tumble out of the car and hightail it to the megachurch’s entrance while my husband parks the car.

Exterior door ushers extend a warm welcome, and I hug the usher whose smile is familiar. I still don’t know his name, but I’ll always know his smile. As my daughter and I look out the interior entrance searching for my husband’s tippy-toe trot between the misting drops, ‘Visitor Coffee Aroma’ reminds me that we were running so late I’ve missed my morning caffeine intervention.

My husband finally enters and we make our way toward the sanctuary entrance, past ‘Visitor Coffee Aroma,’ through smiling volunteer lobby greeters, past the grand visitor information desk, past the early service’s attendees still milling around the central fireplace, and…past County Sheriffs sprinkled throughout the scene.

After an attack on an Amish School, and after that, a shooting at a salon not a stone’s throw away from our church, then violence barely a year later at the Sikh Temple, I wondered what sacred public place would be next. This suburban megachurch that we think is our space?

Or when a protective presence would be a presence.

So I was grateful for those cops. Those sheriffs. A presence. On duty, on high alert. At church.

*  *  *  *  *  *

The tires nearly come to a screech outside an austere city church. Get out and I’ll park. Just find a spot. he says.

We’re on the brink of tardiness. Again.

My daughter and I tumble out and scramble up concrete stairs toward gigantic double-doors. The doors are wooden, heavy and old enough to make me wonder if I’d find evidence of nails from Luther’s 95 Theses if I had the luxury of time to examine them.

A smiling familiar usher swings the heavy door open, and I greet him with something about the noon Packers game. Soon my husband bursts in, beating the church bell’s toll by a good two minutes. I guess parking is easy today.

Beirut and Paris are fresh in our memories, and Kenya’s memory is rekindled after all. In everyone’s memory, I figure. I hope. But at the same time, not.

Pastor began with prayer and I wanted him to say Father God, we’re scared right now, but Scared wasn’t scheduled in the church calendar. The Umpteenth Sunday after Pentecost is.

So I pretended I was praying about the Umpteenth Sunday after Pentecost and prayed to God on my own behalf:  Father God, I’m scared right now, and responsively ended each of pastor’s petitions about the Umpteenth Sunday after Pentecost with Hear our prayer.

And I meant it.

Best find ever via ravishly on Twitter.
Pastor’s sermon was about End Times, how they will be hard and that there will be wars and rumors of wars. Okay, um…yep. Like, NOW.

I blanked out on what pastor was saying for a long while and wondered what I would do if someone burst through the 95 Theses Doors with guns blazing, even as we listened about wars and rumors of wars and the hope we have despite the darkness.

I hatched a plan: I’d push my baby girl down to the floor and tell her not to say a thing.

Just hide. Be invisible.

May the Lord bless you and keep you…then the closing song with seven verses that left me singing an octave lower than when the hymn started.

And then the recessional. We waved at familiar faces. I hugged the elderly man who says he likes to hear me sing (I’ve gotta get this compulsive hugging under control). Then a short walk to the car. My husband made a U-turn and we headed home.

That’s when I noticed the policeman keeping watch just across the street from our church.

I waved. And I was grateful.

NaBloPoMo November 2015


  1. Powerful. I think the same thing. I don't know when or where or if I'd ever need to do it, but I think it. I think what I would do for my baby girl and how I'd shield her. It's scary to think of - but it's so much of today's world. Thing is, it's something I've often thought of, long before today's world, because all it takes is one. Chills.

    1. "because all it takes is one."

      Chills. Exactly that, Andrea.