Saturday, September 3, 5:20 pm. While defending myself against Judy regarding my facial hair, Pastor Sattler approached, sat on the pew in front of me, turned around said:
(There’s that eternity of a millisecond where my mind whirled, swirled and drained of reasons why he is sitting there in the process of saying ..… what? I have this issue with authority where anytime a higher up addresses me beyond ‘hello’ it’s usually to tell me bad news or I’m being asked to take out the trash. Our church has a janitor so the trash angle was out. Not that being asked to collect baby diapers and coffee cups is great news but it’s not being asked to leave the church, which was my next thought. Is a pastor allowed to deport a member so soon before service? What had I done to deserve it? Was my hair too long? Was I gulping too much communion wine? I don’t know the answer to those but the words he uttered were worse than anything I could imagine.)
“Will you run the slides tonight?” as he handed me the paperwork and the controller. Before I could succumb to an aortic dissection, I was in charge of smooth sailing the congregation through the order of service.
As it turned out everything went pretty well. I’d done it before at the sound board but was allowed to point-and-click from the comfort of my pew. I even had the pleasure of clicking us through an infant baptism (yay!). Running the board requires a different type of concentration. It’s not a good idea to let the mind roam even for a little bit. It almost never fails that when we do the responsive during the Christian sacrament of admission and adoption I think about the baptism scene in The Godfather.
For any reason.
But I overcame it.
It’s just one of those things that happens. You see a blue car and the word ‘hot dog’ pops into your head. There’s no stopping it. But reading a slide makes it easier to get to the next slide. As it was there were a bunchabuncha non-church members in attendance so it was in everybody’s best interest for me to stay sharp and focused. During the dousing of the holy water The Holy Ghost came down and indwelt the baby. That was nice.
Songs included but were not limited to “Here I Am, Lord” as well a s “Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me”. Just pleasant songs to sing. That’s all.
The message for the weekend was about priorities. As it turns out, the word ‘priority’ is a Western invention. It didn’t apply back in the day. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” That’s it. Once you seek and are given everything, all else falls into place. Many times a person being interviewed or giving a speech will say some such thing as: My priorities? God first, family second, occupation third” and so on. Matthew says there is no list, only God. Everything else falls under God, our jobs, relationships, how we behave in public and behind the doors of our homes. I am a Christian bookseller/accountant/ bulldozer operator. I am a Christian father/uncle/neighbor/citizen. I am a Christian consumer/book reader/film viewer. Everything is to be filtered through God’s word and God’s point of view. But, of course, I’m unable to keep His word and His point of view in order thus I fail. This is where Jesus steps in and does it all for me. He rights me when I growl at the guy in the car next door. He blesses the clerk I despise at that moment when I can’t temper my self. He points it out to my boss when I make a mistake and am reprimanded so I don’t make the same error twice. (I know it makes Jesus sound a little tattle-telly, and it sounds wrong, but if it is for my own good, as well as the persons I work for, then it’s better for me to lick my wounds than deny my sinfulness with a false shield of pride).
There was more to Pastor’s sermon but I don’t feel comfortable talking about it. It’s nothing horrible, just something I hadn’t considered before and need time to think about it.