Half-way through my sermon, I saw about one third of the congregation sleeping, another third appeared to be present in body only (somewhere else in mind), and the final third appeared to be engaged.
After the service, I was told that the bathroom was out of toilet paper. It was full before the service. This, of course, means that someone stole our toilet paper, again. We go through quite a bit of toilet paper and most of it gets stolen. Financially it adds up, but the larger concern is the principle behind it, that people steal from their church, particularly when we try to give it to people when they ask.
All of this after I spoke about not stealing.
* * *
I don’t need continual ego-stroking, but I do like to know that my work and my efforts make an impact. So many times it does not appear that my work makes the slightest of difference and I’m stuck wondering why I even try.
As we were all leaving, one of the children of our congregation, a seven year-old girl, came up to me.
“Pastor, I made this for you.”
It was a picture and it had some writing on it. I held it in my hands and began to decipher the seven year-old handwriting.
She said to me, “It says ‘We love God, and God loves us.’”
I looked over at her and she smiled. I smiled back, and she gave me a hug.
She gets it, I thought, she gets it in her own seven year-old way. This is the essence of what I speak of every week. “We love God, and God loves us.”
I won’t ever know the full impact that our church has on people. So I keep working, keep telling people about God’s love and grace and I will keep looking at that picture, “We love God, and God loves us.
Sometimes grace comes from the least expected places.