"It was nice to have you in church today," he says, "There you were, just grinning away..."
"Oh, well," I respond lamely, "I really enjoyed your sermon, so thanks." I do not out myself as a pastor, but I am not lying. I did enjoy the sermon. There is a slight chance that I went to church on vacation (visiting J's side of our Minnesota family) in order to take notes and make comparisons. But, as an example of how God can use even our worst intentions for good, I actually had a kind of great time.
Maybe it was because we started out with this translation of "You Have Come to the Lakeshore" which I'd never heard which contained the lines
You need the caring of my handsThrough my tiredness, may others find restingYou need a love that just goes on loving.
I cant remember the words I actually know and I'm too lazy to look them up now, but after two nights (well three really if you count the night before and our day-before-flight jitters) anyway after several nights of interrupted sleep, I was thinking my tiredness wasn't good for anything much. So it was better than good to think that it might have a purpose, you know?
And the sermon was local in a good way. Yes, I am in Minnesota and I do expect the sermon to mention Kirby Puckett, so thank you for that. And it was thoughtful, too. My dad's best sermon prep advice is "pray. and get out of the way." It was a smart sermon, and had moments of lightness, but it felt like the preacher had followed my dad's advice, so we could connect with God in Christ, instead of his cleverness or funny-ness.
So, I guess I was grinning with gratitude for these things, but also because during the offering, when I opened the little green pew envelope to put my money in, I found a small piece of paper folded into four and carefully sealed in there. On one side, under "prayer joys/concerns and reasons to give thanks" a rainbow picture. And then, on the other side, a phone number, address, name and in a child's careful printing "Send me this Please look at the adres."
So naturally, I saved it so I could send it back to her. And I was grinning, because isnt that why we come to church, all of us? Because we want to create something beautiful? Because we want to know we are part of something bigger than we are? Because we want to reach out, and we are praying all the time that someone will reach back?