GOING TO CHURCH
My family was a regular church going family until each of “The Boys” was safely confirmed as full members of the church. At that point, apparently mom and dad had done their job, and participation at Church was voluntary.
For the most part, we volunteered to not go. Mom and dad were ok with that, and Sundays became pancake and bacon, and what time is the game on Sunday.
Pop still paid tribute to the church, he sent a check every January that represented what would be a weekly contribution had the whole family gone to church on a regular basis.
We generally went to church one day every year. We went to church on Easter. We usually went to the Easter sunrise service which required getting up at 4:30 am and suffering through an early spring frigid morning outside the church.
Every Easter sunrise service, in the freezing cold of a spring dawn, the minister started his sermon with a little joke. Looking out over a packed audience, probably double a normal Sunday, he declared,
“Welcome everyone to this wondrous day. It is nice to see so many new faces. You do know we are here every Sunday, not just once a year don’t you?”
This always got a lovely knowing chuckle followed by buzzing and head nodding from all the church “better than thou” regulars, most of whom were little old ladies in funny hats with very stern looking husbands by their sides.
Every year, when this little joke was made, I could see my father do a slow burn. Every year going home I heard the same rant from my pop.
“You know, I pay a considerable sum every year to that church. If I choose to only go once a year, that is my business and I really don’t like to go and then have some dweeb with a funny collar point out to everyone that many of us, based on attendance, are not as good as the regulars.
I don’t know what makes those regulars such wonderful people. I do know that I have raised my sons to respect the church; I do know that I am a charitable person who has volunteered for community service, has taught Sunday school and tried to live my life as a good Christian. I have a good mind to tell that pastor off and stop making any payments except on the one day a year that I choose to attend.”
Every year my mom shut this rant down with just two words in a way that only moms can.
The next year, we would all be back shivering through the Pastor’s smug insider joke and another Easter sermon.