Last Sunday was a big day for our church, it was the day set aside to dedicate our new building to the Lord. My father-in-law, my husband and my oldest son were asked to give the communion thoughts and prayers for the bread, cup and offering. It was especially poignant that on the official farewell to our old location they were asked to do the same thing. That time must have been special but uneventful as it does not stand out in my memory. Last Sunday, though, will forever be something to remember.
I have to be honest and say the trip to church was not a happy one. Earlier in the week when I convinced Drew to wear a tie, it wasn’t nearly as hard a battle as I thought it would be. The reason was because it didn’t occur to Drew that he would also have to tuck in his shirt and wear a belt, something that, according to him, makes him hideously stupid looking. There was drama but I won out because I refused to budge on the subject. Drew looked nice in his jeans, hand-me-down dress shoes, new shirt and new tie. And the belt stayed on at least until the end of services.
I was nervous for all my guys, my father-in-law included even though he is an elder of the church and an old hand at this. When he stood behind the pulpit telling the history of where our church started and how we came to be where we are now, my eyes welled with pride at this man I love and respect so much. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with regret that I don’t have the time to just sit at his feet and soak in all his humble and gracious wisdom. I am blessed to have him in my life.
After the bread and a song, Paul went up to say his piece. Even though I knew what he was going to say and do I still got caught up in his telling of the story about how the lamb that was slain was not a wimpy and meek lamb but rather the Lion of Judah, mighty and powerful yet submissive to the Father’s will. I was taken to the cross and moved to tears. After 15 years of marriage, Paul still surprises me with his tender and Godly heart.
Then it was Drew’s turn. A few days before, I had thought to get Drew to write down what he was going to say so we could edit it but decided not to micro-manage him and let him do it his way. Okay, maybe not when it comes to getting dressed but …you know. His heart was right on. He tried to be funny by saying that long ago before Michael Jackson was so creepy something very bad happened but it was also very good – Jesus died for us. His point was that through all the bad things we have done there was no way we could ever repay that act of God. Then he prayed and he mentioned some of those bad acts – Saddam Hussein killing a bunch of people and dad swimming naked in the baptistery. That’s right, he covered everything from horrible genocide to something Paul did when he was a young boy that is now a humorous family story. And, yes, it was when Paul was a boy not like last week or anything.
When Paul and his brother Mark were young they would sneak their dad’s keys to the church, ride their bikes a few blocks to the building and go swimming in the baptistery. Since this was done without permission they had to do it just like Tom Sawyer did and shuck their clothes. I don’t know how many times they got away with this but since the offices were not in the same building it was pretty easy and water does call to a boy. Then one day the church secretary went to the auditorium for something, heard them splashing and caught them in all their full glory! She gave them a pretty stern lecture and sent them home. She then probably sat down and had herself a good laugh. I do know she punished the boys in the worst way possible – she didn’t tell a soul. Paul and Mark didn’t go straight home, in fact they stayed gone as long as they possibly could but when they finally trudged in the back door ready for their parents to hand it to them, there was nothing said. They lived in fear for weeks, months even. It wasn’t until both were grown with families of their own that Bobbie and Kix found out about skinny-dipping in the baptistery.
It’s funny how things come full-circle. Paul and I now have three boys of our own, not to mention a little girl. Things are crazy on most days and we have our own funny stories like the time one of them said the word “naked” in reference to his dad during a prayer in front of God and everybody. What scares me are the stories I won’t hear about until my sons have sons.