Rubbing Elbows in the Sight of God

“This is the time in the service when we remember special needs of our own. We think of Emily at the hospital; of Derrick and Jane adjusting to the needs of their little new arrival; of Steven going off to seminary out of state; of Peter in his job search and of all those let go from the factory; of comfort for Marjorie so soon after the loss of Cam…”

The associate Pastor’s petitions and intercessions went on for another two minutes covering diverse territories, with the congregation occasionally mumbling, as if one garbled voice, “Lord hear our prayer”.

It was all different for me, a visitor trying to participate without tripping over my tongue.

I thought that the singing had been stiff. The organist was proficient but the booming old set of pipes made the people’s lyrics seem indecipherable. The sermon had been a moral lesson without any clear indication of a foundation text in scripture.

And back home I attended a “Word” Church with upbeat contemporary praise and protracted teaching.

Teaching always teaching…

But these people bowed in significant silence and prayed for one another. One had the feeling that it was given that some would come forward with visits, helpful errands, gifts or letters and phone calls. I did not see that too often at my “Home” church. I almost failed to recognize other parishioners out of context in other public situations.

And sitting there in that pew, some words of Jesus hit me like lightning:

Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11: 17)

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