It happened like this one Sunday morning at my brother-in-law’s church:
Someone had taped a bright-yellow sign to the front door, with an apology to those gathering for worship: “Sorry. We weren’t able to find anyone to serve as greeters today. Let yourself in!”
The congregants shrugged, then opened the door, to step into their lobby. But where was the aroma of their usual morning coffee? A yellow sign on the coffee bar had the answer: “Sorry. We were not able to find anyone to serve coffee today.”
Foreheads knotted. Groans rippled through the room.
Congregants trudged into the sanctuary to find one more sign: “Sorry, we were unable to find anyone to serve as ushers. Please take your own bulletin.”
The bulletins — all of them unfolded — were stacked on a table.
No worship band played that morning. The pastor tried fiddling with the lights himself, and he also scurried around the room at offering time — one frazzled man with a basket.
They got the message.
We heard a similar message yesterday in our little country church, surrounded by corn fields a mile from our front door. A visiting pastor reminded our congregation: “Christ doesn’t send out an elite few. He sends us all.”
And surely, the pastor’s message was a reminder to serve as a disciple, to be Light to a world in need. But for me, it was a reminder of the old 20-80 problem. His message nudged me into thankfulness for the many people who faithfully serve.
So today, I say thank you:
To Art, who faithfully rings the bell at 9:30 every Sunday morning.
To Char, who prints (and folds!) our bulletins.
To Rosie, who pours wine into tiny little cups.
Thank you, to the person who replaces the toilet paper, stuffs the mailboxes, and picks up the Cheerios from the pew where my children sat.
Thank you to all the pastors, who all summer long, even when half the members were gone from the pews, still bent over the Scriptures as fervently and faithfully as they did when the church was packed.
Thank you to the teacher who taught my children the Apostle’s Creed, and to the silent server who cleans up the Quiet Bags.
Thank you to whoever takes out our garbage, washes the dish-towels, and locks up the church when Sunday service is over.
Thank you to the person who responded to the security call when I fouled up the security system, unwittingly setting off a series of false alarms when I left the building.
Thank you to the people who bring fresh flowers for the altar, fresh bread for communion, and a fresh word to the sanctuary.
Thank you to those ten men from our tiny church, all of these businessmen and farmers with slicked back hair, all of them wearing ties, who stood up front to sing the Lord’s Prayer. I was the one in the back, with a hand on the sound board and a single tear sliding down my cheek.
Who would you thank today? Share in the comments!