Read the news headlines about what is happening and while wild and worrisome it is not that interesting to me. What is interesting is the story behind the story. For instance all the economic and government drama doesn't really add up to a hill of beans for me until today when five people from my company get laid off. How this will impact their family, partners, and life is captivating to me, yet that is the story behind the story. Ed Burns captures this well.
Last Sunday something inspired me during the service that was enough for me to think, "We should end church here because what just happen was amazing." The headline would read, Volunteer Reader doesn't show. But the story that God wrote behind that amazed me.
First there was a long awkward silence, that seem to last as long as a woman in labor to me and I would think everyone else that is even partially engaged in the service. It took either the pastor complete and utter disconnection to what was happening (which I doubt) or leaders who were comfortable enough with letting it sit. They are fully capable of stepping in and reading scripture and yet it is not their duty in that moment so an able minded/bodied person would need to step up.
The person who ended stepping up was the Children's Minister. Her entire life, and that of her husband, is spent filling in gaps and serving people who may never even know who they are. They are a beautiful picture of the people who make church happen, and get very little in return. On a side not it was also a great opportunity for me to see her great new hair cut, but it was clear that her stepping into the moment was completely about serving.
What brought tears to my eyes and a chill to my back was when she began to read and it was Phil 4, Have in you the same mind as Christ...A passage completely about selflessness and caring for others. I could not think of a more incarnate picture than this young lady and then reading this passage in that particular circumstance.
Just as you thought God was going to return on the cloud or had because it was such a transcendent heavenly moment, as she finished reading she gracefully slipped as she walked down the steps, not a full on fall, just a trip. Enough of a bump to remind you that the entire moment was real, and sometime real is beautiful and sometimes it is embarrassing.
In all of that I was grateful to have been around enough to know the story behind the story, and I felt sad for people who it was their first Sunday at our church. They missed God showing up, and how hard is it to figure out if you belong in a place or understand it's true meaning and nature when you only see the headline story. What really matters is the story behind the story.