Let’s face it. No one had to show up this morning.
That woman over there. Her book club is meeting at a great breakfast place at this very moment and none of the other members would even think of missing the meeting for a church service. That woman could be eating Eggs Benny at 11am around the corner and Eggs Benny at 11am on a Sunday does sound delicious.
That teen. His eyes are indicating full well that he did not want to show up this morning. His dad forced him and he is angry about it. He doesn’t have a single friend who is forced to go to church. He doesn’t have a friend who goes to church. He can let you know that the requirement for sleeping-in for teens is important to his physical growth and development and Sunday mornings are prime time for growth and development.
And that older woman. She’s been here almost every Sunday for the better part of 70 years. Every time she sits in her pew she is reminded of all of her friends who have died this year who no longer surround her on a Sunday. Then after that grief fades she is reminded of the other friends who just don’t go anymore.
And that new family. They feel like they are under a microscope because people are looking at them with smiles that are way too big and frankly the inability to figure out the green book is making them sweat with embarrassment. They are trying to figure out whether the next hour will be stress-filled or spirit-filled.
And that toddler. She could have been registered for a swimming lesson at exactly this time in the new pool up the street. She loves swimming at that new pool. It has cool new float toys including a coveted purple rubber ducky ~ need I say more.
No one had to show up this morning.
Our society does not demand that any of them be here this morning. It doesn’t even demand that you be here this morning. There are lots of other good things to do. There are many other places to be fulfilled; other churches, temples, charity runs and nature walks to name a few. There is sleep. There are yummy eggs benedict and fun purple rubber ducks.
But they are here.
All of them have made a choice to go against their surrounding culture that tells them that this morning’s service is irrelevant, inconvenient, irritating, and irrational.
They are here.
That woman will hear the message of the gospel and smile as she considers suggesting an Anne Lamott book at the next book club meeting.
That teen will soften by end of the service, despite all his efforts.
That older woman will teach you a thing or two about commitment and perseverance simply by sitting in that pew again.
That new family will find the Eucharistic Prayer on page 196 for the first time, all by themselves.
That toddler will ask for four pieces of bread because she knows there is something special about it.
The stuff of church will happen in the next hour whether there are two people or twenty-two.
Lets face it. No one had to show up this morning.
But they did.
They showed up.
To worship God.