Over the years, I’ve read some interesting articles on “How to prepare your family for church.” You know…start the night before by setting out everyone’s clothes, pray as a family about church the next morning, get the kids in bed early, be pro-active with the breakfast plans, make sure there’s gas in the car, get a good start on the day, have a peaceful, nutritious family breakfast and plan on getting to church early so you can prepare for worship.
It all sounds so good but if I were to informally poll fifty church-going families, my hypothesis would be that most Sunday mornings are oh – so stressful. I mean, the odd time, everything runs as planned but more times than not, those early hours on a Sunday are usually filled with some of the funniest family blunders. In fact, I think I could write a very humorous book about the Sunday morning experience for Christians. I know exactly what I’d call it.
On Sunday, a friend of mine was heading to church and she decided to stop in at a nearby Starbucks to pick up a quick coffee. She was standing in line and she noticed a well dressed man a couple of customers ahead of her, fidgeting with an armful of books. It was quite obvious that this man was getting impatient with the service and when he finally got to the front of the line, he ordered in a loud and rather frustrated voice, “Triple Calm, please…and make it quick!” Great title for my book, right? I’m convinced that man was also heading to church.
Sunday mornings – you gotta’ love ’em. These are the hours when your three year old discovers a loose lid on a big jar of Vaseline, right? Or your teenage daughter goes into panic mode when she sees her first pimple. A friend’s husband was dressing their children for church many years ago and forgot to put their underwear on. Another friend’s three children managed to display the fine art of “synchronized throwing up” on the way to church one morning as a result of early morning sausages gone bad. Of course, there’s the inevitable diaper explosions, car break downs and siblings conflicts to add to the mix.
I don’t think many families have many “Good Housekeeping” kind of Sunday mornings – most family “getting to church” mornings are more like the contents of MAD magazine. It’s a scramble to remember everything and the challenge is to come through it in tact. Once the kids are in the nursery, ( of course, you most likely left at least one child screaming and kicking) you quietly reposition your clothing, touch up your hair, take a deep breath and head to the sanctuary. As you settle in, you look down and realize you have two different shoes on.
The thing is, God is just as present in the midst of the squabbling, the flat tire episode and the “Oh no…I left my retainer on the top of the car” revelation as He is when the service starts in the church building.
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness; touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis, all moments are key moments and life itself is grace.