We recently joined a really big church. Really big.
So big, in fact, that they have multiple identical services, at multiple locations and times. We still usually choose to go Sunday mornings at the main church. We just like that. But this weekend we chose to go to the Sunday evening service.
It felt weird to be at home on a Sunday morning. We slept in. Not our norm. It was nice, I’ll admit, but odd. Even more odd was my weekly grocery trip. I went this morning, apparently with all the other sinner/losers not at Sunday morning church. I was surprised at all the folks there. I felt the need to scream, “I’m going to church tonight! It’s an identical service to the one going on right now! Really, I’m not blowing off church for groceries! I love Jesus!”
Honestly I didn’t care. I just pretended to be backslidden, godless, and unconcerned.
I went about my business of shopping, and forgot about the fact that I was shopping during my normal church time. That is, until I was ready to go and was trying to find a short line in which to check out. Even on Sunday morning it was difficult.
Finally I spotted one, and I was making a beeline for it when a lady in a pretty black blouse and slacks suddenly cut me off. Had there been gravel to sling it would have pelted me as she slid in line just in front of me. As she staked her claim in line she turned to me and said,
“I’m sorry, I hope you don’t mind. I have to pick my son up from Sunday school, and I don’t want to be late.”
I chuckled at her, and said, “Sure. No biggie.” I mean, dressed in my jeans and ratty t-shirt I obviously didn’t need to be anywhere nearly so important, did I?
And then something occurred to me. I usually do my shopping for groceries after church with the godly masses on Sunday. It’s usually a horrific experience. So many people, so little room.
Getting up and down the aisles is like working your way through a maze with dazed people all in the way. But today, shopping with the heathen was great. The aisles were clear, the people were nice, and they politely moved aside if they saw I needed by. In the south, even the backslidden have manners.
The only self-proclaimed churchgoer in the building was the one who made sure she pushed her way to the front, and put her needs above everyone else’s. It made me laugh, and then it made me cringe. How many times do we Christians come off that way?
Have you ever had someone cut you off in traffic only to find they have a fish symbol stuck to the back of their car? I’ve heard from waiters and waitresses that Christians are the chinciest customers of all, leaving little or no tip for the service they get. We don’t always paint Christianity in the best light. Often the picture we portray is everything Christianity isn’t.
As for the church lady who cut me off in line… What if I was not a believer? How would that insensitivity have come across to me then? It would probably only reinforce once again why I would never want to be one of those people.
Still, I have to ask myself, how many times has that lady been me?