Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Old Lady in the Front Pew

Have you ever attended a church that was not your usual place of worship, and you weren't sure about the "drill"? You know: when to sit, when to stand, when to kneel, whether you should bow your head during the benediction or look the pastor/preacher/priest in the eye, what the proper response is after a scripture reading? What do you do when you're in that situation? Why, you watch the old lady in the front pew, of course.

There's always at least one. Sometimes it's an older married couple; sometimes it's a whole row of little old church ladies that are always together like a sweet flock of songbirds. But there's always at least one nicely-dressed white-haired lady who knows when to stand up even if the service leader doesn't tell you to, who knows all the verbal responses, who knows the exact moment it's permissible to leave even if the postlude isn't over yet. You can always look to the old lady in the front pew who knows what to do.

This morning, my church service was led by a candidate for the position of full-time pastor. He had never attended a service at our church before, and although our interim pastor and several other lay leaders had walked him through the process, there were a few items that had been left out. He did a wonderful job of going with the flow and figuring everything out as we went along, but it made me realize something very important about myself:

I have become the old lady in the front pew.

I have been around this particular church long enough to know the drill. Even without the asterisks in the bulletin and the bold print responses, I know what to do. And I have been around in life for long enough to be comfortable being the one who stands up at the right time when I know it's the right time, even if I'm the first one to do so.

I have become the old lady in the front pew.

I have mom.

Not a bad evolution, that. I'm pretty happy about it, actually.

I'm also pretty happy that the congregation chose to unanimously call the candidate to be our full-time pastor. And I'm pretty happy to be the old lady in the front pew, beaming at him in a few short weeks when he officially steps into the pulpit.

I might even say "Amen" out loud. I bet if I do, some of the other people in the congregation will, too. After all, you always follow the example of the old lady in the front pew.

Yup, that one. 

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