And Then She Busted Through the Door!
Everything was moving along as usual at church last Sunday morning: we greeted each other, we enjoyed several hymns together, we prayed, and gave our weekly offerings. Things were off to a good start and it had all the indications of a great Sunday morning. Like usual, I dismissed the children to go to the back for their worship time with Ms. Gale before the start of my morning sermon. My desire was that the message from Psalm 46 would bring some much needed encouragement to weary souls and move them to always recall the help of God that is available no matter what the circumstances.
The layout of our church sanctuary includes a door to the right of the pulpit as I face the congregation, so that means that whoever enters by that route will be facing the crowd. That has never been a serious problem; everyone familiar with the building knows to use the main entrance if they come in or exit during church time. But like most things in life, there are some exceptions to the usual expectations—and we had one of those last Sunday.
As I enthusiastically introduced the message, the room was mostly silent with hearts and minds soaking up Biblical instructions for life. But then, the silence was broken and I was no longer the center of attention! The door to my right suddenly flew open and someone stepped in in grand fashion that could not be overlooked. When she rushed through the door she fell to the floor then suddenly jumped up, grabbed the hem of her dress and pulled it up near her chin as she ran with great speed down the middle isle. How do you respond to a scene like that? As chuckles erupted throughout the congregation, I could only think of one thing: Ray Stevens’ rendition of The Mississippi Squirrel Revival! If you are familiar with that recording from years back you get the picture.
You might be wondering by now who would dare to interrupt a church service in such a dramatic way. If you guessed it was one of my grandchildren you are right. Three year old Raegan got loose from the children’s church workers and darted toward the main sanctuary before she could be stopped. We have good and attentive workers with our children, but that little girl has a mind of her own and plenty of speed to achieve the unthinkable.
We all got a good laugh and I was able to recover, regain attention, and successfully complete the sermon. But if it had been an adult who knew better but performed such a stunt, it would have been disgraceful instead of entertaining. Maturity makes the difference. We expect toddlers to do immature things, but we have different expectations of mature adults. And even for a three year old, busting through a door while church is going on might be funny one time but she will have to learn that such actions are not appropriate and if it happens again there will be more serious consequences. Achieving maturity might sometimes be painful, but the end result is worth the pain.
When we look at our spiritual growth (or lack of it), do we see some of our choices and actions as being equivalent to a three year old doing things that is only appropriate for a toddler? Do we cling to grudges and feelings that we should have let go of a long time ago? As we grow spiritually, we learn the value of having forgiving hearts and attitudes, and as we do, we increasingly reflect the presence of Jesus Christ that abides in our hearts. As 2 Peter 3:18 instructs us, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen” (New International Version).