In the Pew - His Boy

I'd like to ask if you ever really look at those worshipping around you on Sunday morning.

Do you wonder what their lives are really like? 

What are their concerns or cares?
What are their joys and triumphs?

Who's in the pew next to you?


He straightened his jacket and fiddled with the tip of his tie. Midway through the very first hymn, he'd had to take his seat. The deafening refrain of his panicked heart galloped onward, as it had for the last twenty-four hours, dimishing the melody of worship.

Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!

He refocused his attention on the song book in his lap. They occupied their customary pew, only six rows from the pulpit. His wife remained determinedly on her feet, one had gripping the pew for balance, her arm protectively encircling their grandson between them. The only son of their only son was just nine years old. 

The music faded to a persistent, jangling background accompaniment for his barely concealed hysteria. He eyed the expanse of low wooden railing just beyond the feet of the musicians. If only he could walk up to that altar right now! Yes, this very minute ... what exactly would he do? Which scarcely  contained emotion would be the first to erupt onto the smooth oak and create an ugly, profane stain on the blood-red carpet below? Anger might be the first. How he'd love to beat the altar rail and demand an explanation of God! What about his boy? Why had this been allowed to happen? Had he not sacrificed enough? Prayed enough? Given enough? Did God look away while his son had been in his greatest  moment of  need? Or perhaps grief would shove its painful way out first. While the delivery would be different, with gut-clearing sobs replacing hot shouts of anger, the questions would remain the same. But the desperation he felt right now, in which questions were abandoned in favor of pleas, bargains, and begging, was dangerously close to spilling over.

He was startled from his anguished imaginations by the small hand of his grandson. The sweaty palm placed so lightly on his shoulder sent heat searing through layers of fabric to pierce his wretched heart. What would become of  this young boy just leaving childhood and entering his youth? What now? What would they do? 

The music finally ended, and the faithful bowed to pray. His only option in joining, the only offering he was capable of bringing was unchanged. 

Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!

1 comment:

marie said...

Thank you for this encouragement to be more observant about what's going on around me.