Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday at my Church

After the most exhausting first two days of school ever followed by a full Saturday at the public library, I was worn out. I wasted little time getting into bed wondering how in the world I was going to get ready for school by Monday morning.

Sunday morning I got up in plenty of time for my regular routine of coffee, breakfast and Jerry Seinfeld shorts, only my computer wouldn't boot up. It was stuck on a blue DELL screen. I hit every key combination I could think of, nothing. Hard reboot, nothing but the blue DELL screen. I set up my netbook in front of the malfunctioning desktop and watched Jerry. He was little comfort this morning. The blue DELL screen was annoying me so I pushed the monitor off button.

I read a few emails then shut down the netbook and turned the desktop monitor back on. It had booted up. Well, Hallelujah! Will miracles never cease?

Time to get ready for church. I never considered staying home from church. I could have used the extra time to plan lessons for this week. In my grumpy mood I could've had a good pity party. But I go to church and I knew the answers to my woes would probably be waiting for me there.

It's hard to be a teacher right now when so many people think they could do the job better, but they either don't have the education to qualify for the job or they are working in some other field and would never give up their mega-bucks for a teacher's salary. A friend told me that education may be the only thing Republicans and Democrats agree on, that our education system is a failure and teachers are to blame. I don't really agree with that but I also don't want start ranting and raving.

I walked to church, opened the door and was greeted as always by Jim's smiling face. He hands out our bulletins every Sunday and I am sure he makes everyone feel like they are the most important person to walk through that door.

Next I joined a group signing cards at the back table. We have a card ministry, doing a small act to cheer or comfort people who are hurting. I saw a friend who had been gone on vacation. I was so glad to see her that she got a tremendous bear hug. I got gifts from her trip abroad to Iowa and Minnesota. She said it rains there. What a lovely place that must be.

More smiles and hugs, people happy to see each other, then church started. The hymns, prayers, children's sermon and scriptures surrounded us in positive energy.

People sharing their prayer requests brought things into perspective. A wife had to leave to go see her father in the hospital, not knowing if she would make it there in time. Other people mourning the loss of a family member. A two-year-old child needing a kidney transplant. A daughter needs stint surgery because arteries are clogged throughout her body. My problems pale by comparison. God is sufficient to take care of us all, why do I get so bogged up?

The preacher's sermon was based on 1st Corinthians 12:12-31 about how every part of the body is important. He used teachers as an illustration of people who find the gifts in others and bring them to fruition making it clear that every single person is important. He went overboard with his praise, but how refreshing after the onslaught of criticism.

The service ended with "A Commissioning of Our Teachers and Educators." What a blessing. All of us who work in education came to the front of the church. The responsive reading began like this:

Pastor: As these members of our community once again begin their work among the children and youth of Oklahoma, we pray the blessings of God and this community upon their endeavors.

People: We recognize you as ambassadors of this congregation in ministry with and to the children and youth of our schools and dedicate you to service in the name of Jesus Christ. Through our prayers and our service we will be united with you in your work. May God richly bless your labors.

One by one, the pastor painted crosses on our foreheads with oil and spoke a blessing to each one.

I feel empowered and renewed and ready to make Monday the real first day of the new school year.

May God richly bless your labors as well.


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