This past December my parents came to visit Mere and I in Louisville. This was huge as it was the first time we had visitors stay with us. It was also the first time we had parents or family stay with us.
I was excited to see my folks. We were nervous to host. I tried to find activities to keep my folks busy during their stay with us. As clergy it was an expectation that my folks would be treated to the holiday religious trimmings.
I got lucky when two friends of mine invited me to a holiday concert at a large local baptist church. Great! Here was the chance to get all holiday on my folks.
My folks arrive here in Louisville we go to dinner and then I drive us in Danger Cart over to the church. There it was in all the holiday glory. There was a packed house ready to get their Jesus on.
It was so packed that we made our way up to the upper part of the sanctuary. We grabbed our seats and hoped for a Jesusriffic spectacular. The pastor came out and introduced the program.
Jesus is the season for the season! I sat there sort of mocking the theology and the magnitude of Jesusriffic programing. The show begins with a big ass anthem. The choir parades in with glory & hallelujahs. I sit back ready to enjoy the show.
I became involved in the music and really enjoyed it. I looked around the sanctuary at all of the smiling, happy families. I looked at the choir. I was looking around and noticed a sort of short dark haired woman smiling wide as she sang the songs. I scanned and she was still fixed on me.
WHAT?!? Why was this lady looking at me? I am sitting here with my parents and my wife and this lady is totally gawking at me.
I think to myself, “there is no way! It is too dark up here to see me.” Yet there she was staring at me. I recall that scene from “Swingers” at the end…the one from the diner and the cute bunny with the baby. You don’t know me. You don’t know me. She kept staring at me.
I began to sweat. The Africans came out along with the other ethnic singers to share global songs of Jesus with us. I sat there wondering why this woman was staring at me.
She seemed fixed in gaze upon me. Am I really this fabulous? I am pretty badass. I mean, I am not Brad Pitt or anything. I am average at worst. I can see why she is looking at me. There she was looking at me, singing away. It was a weird moment. It was like a moment from TBN. She sang and smiled, and looked directly at me.
I began to get uncomfortable with the watching. Why are you staring at me? I put my arm around my wife. I was saying, “I am with her.” Yet, this woman stared! I kissed my wife on the cheek. The woman stared. I finally lean over to my wife.
Mere, this woman keeps staring at me. It is making me uncomfortable, really uncomfortable. Mere looks at the woman and looks down below us at the giant screen just below my seat on the front of the balcony. She points to the screen on the other side of the balcony. Look the words to the songs are on the screen.
She is not looking at you, she is reading the words to the songs. My pride crushed I reply, “hmm.” I finished watching the Jesusriffic show with humble pie.
I think my experience with ministry has been similar to this story…
I had felt like a rock star all up n the business of folks. I now stand with humble pie realizing I am not as attractive as I once had hoped. That the beautiful face of ministry is staring at the screen reading the prompts of the giants gone bye.
It is all a matter of perspective and my perspective is in a state of transformation.