Saying Yes To God
Question: What is more uncomfortable than wearing wet clothes fresh out of the washing machine?
Answer: Sunday’s sermon at church.
Hold your gasps until I explain. Sunday morning, my Pastor read the Gospel in Spanish. Having never studied the language, I could only make out a few familiar words as I tried to follow along in the English version. He then read the Gospel in English. As the congregation sat down to listen to the sermon, he apologized for making us feel uncomfortable as he read in a language other than English which we are accustomed. Then he promised he was not done making us feel uncomfortable. He talked for a few minutes and requested us all to stand up. He instructed us to gather our things and move to a new spot in the church and stay there for the remainder of the service.
What? I am a creature of habit! I sit in the second or third row from the front on the right side of the center aisle as often as I can. I sit there because the ceiling fans do not blow cool air on me. If I were to sit on the end of the side aisles, I would get too cold from the air conditioning vents in the floor. If I do not sit up front, then my attention span expires and I am easily distracted by impaired vision from different heights of heads in front of me. I also become hyper-aware of fidgety people, especially children that do not leave the sanctuary to attend Kid’s church which is prepared and presented for their attention span.
I love going to church and I love sitting in my “spot”. It wasn’t too bad moving as I merely crossed the center aisle and sat in the fourth row behind the baptismal font and the tall baptismal candle that stands as its sacramental partner. Pastor tends to walk down the steps of the altar to be closer to the congregation while he shares his sermon. From my new vantage point, I felt far away and quickly noticed a distraction. The Baptismal candle was cutting into my view of Pastor. I could see half of him depending on which way he shifted his stance. A seasoned speaker, he does not stand still.
Two ideas come to mind when I think about this uncomfortable experiment moving seats. First, our comfort zone was compromised. It didn’t take us long to move around and get settled, but there was a lot of mumbling amongst the congregation as we moved about. Without looking around, I wonder though, if anyone, other than the sound board and projector technicians, stayed in their original seats. Second, could this have been a plot just to let Pastor’s wife sit closer to the front…in my spot no less!
This experiment taught me that although I was uncomfortable, it was easier when everyone was asked to move. But if Pastor had picked a random few to move about while the whole congregation watched, I think it could have been a lot more uncomfortable. Sometimes God asks us to do things as a group and sometimes He singles us out to do His will. Whenever God asks you to move, I suggest you move. As Deuteronomy 31:6 says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”