We're usually late for church on Sundays. I can't figure out why. Every Sunday we show up about five minutes late. I'll just blame it on my hair. Why not? My hair can handle it.
By the time we arrive and slink into our back pew, the congregation is on their feet, already singing. We live about three minutes from our church which only makes me feel more guilty about being late. I know, I know, we should be able to get there on time. The hair, always the hair. We'll just have to try again next Sunday.
Another part of our 'late' problem, is I actually love walking into church while everyone is singing. We get there, stealthily arrange ourselves along the pew, set our Bibles down behind us and join in. There's no messing around, no waiting. We get there and get down to business. Our voices rise up with the others and we are there. Church.
Our voices mix and mingle and my eyes rise up. My mind seems to set sail and I set off on a journey. It's a journey that takes me from one church to another. My mind arrives at my sweet grandma Jantzi's church, Cedar Grove Beechy Amish church, and I grab her hand. I set off down the road to the church I grew up in, Crosshill Mennonite Church, and there I am with my family, my two sisters, my brother, and my mom and dad. We grab hands, I hear my mom's strong alto voice, and as I look around the congregation I see many others there who I love. People with last names of Jantzi, Wagler, Bender, Steinmann, and Erb. They are the ones who taught me Sunday school, vacation Bible school, and were youth sponsors. They also sent me letters and packages while I was away at college in California.
Thinking about college takes my mind to the west coast. I grab the hands of my dear college friends. Some are from Oregon, California, Arizona, but there they are. I grab their hands and they become part of the line. College friends leads my mind to friends of today and I stop off in Nebraska and Tennessee, grabbing hold, forming the line.
Most Sundays I often think of a gal I met while at school. She was an aspiring actress and was actually in some movies in the late '80's. She was introduced to Jesus and fell in love. Regular church was not the place for her and she asked a friend and I to join her one Sunday at a Harley church in Hollywood. It blew this Mennonite girl's mind to be at a church where we sang Eagles songs as part of worship and where everyone wore leather vests, jackets, and blue jeans. The parking lot was a sea of Harley Davidson motorcycles.
I look down the line and the Harley dudes are holding hands with my Amish grandma and all the folks from Crosshill Mennonite. Love it!
Voices mingled, rising up. Cedar Grove Beechy Amish church with it's plain wooden floors and straight backed wooden pews to Crosshill Mennonite filled with my family and all the other sweet people who invested time into me, to the Harley church out in Hollywood, to friends then and now, to my church here.
Here we are. Worshipping the Lord Almighty, the Holy One. Holding hands. All together. Of course I can't see everyone, but I simply know they are there. It's Sunday. It's time to join together and sing. Time to come together, to hold hands, to form a line that goes on and on, backwards in time, and as I glance at my three precious children beside me, I hope and pray it moves forward in time as well.
I'll probably be late again next Sunday.