Having found two sets of car keys, it should came as no surprise that i found God the same week. The surprise was that he lives just down the street. We’re neighbors.
Prior to Sunday I hadn’t been to church since the Carter administration. i think electing Ronald Reagan made me lose faith. Or maybe it was that I broke up with Rhonda Hudson, who just happened to go to the same church. Hard to remember the details.
It’s not that I ever stopped believing in God. I’m not sure who or what the Higher Power is. Maybe it’s a diety. Maybe it’s karma. Maybe it’s the good inside of each of us. But I never liked to bundle up something that huge and call it religion. I grew up a Southern Baptist, with fire and brimstone and wearing your Sunday best and a total intolerance of any other faiths. I remember a guy in my Sunday School class asking why if you believed that a rock was God, worshiped it sincerely and led a good life you couldn’t go to heaven. I think the SS teacher’s head actually exploded. Not a good day.
But there are no atheists in foxholes, and the times are such that we could use all the help we can get. Mo is from a deeply religious background, still sporting an Amy Grant tattoo on her left buttock and with a family that has done amazing things in the missionary field. There is a little church down the road that seemed pretty nonthreatening, so off we went.
I wore khakis and a short-sleeve shirt and feared I would stand out because of my attire. I was correct. The congregation sported mostly Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip flops. Jeans and T-shirts were the attire of choice. The vibe was that of a bunch of people who just came together to celebrate. Sort of like a Bon Jovi concert without having to listen to “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
The preacher was a young guy with an untucked shirt and jeans. He told jokes, imitated a ventriloquist dummy and made an hour fly by. It has to be the first service ever that I didn’t sneak a peek at my watch.
We prayed and we laughed and we learned how we can be better people. There were no rules. No threats. No right or wrong. I got the feeling that you could be Hindu or Muslim or a Green Party member and still be embraced in this place. We left happy.
Weird. We’re already planning our Palm Friday outing. I’ve never been to a Palm Friday outing. But then again I’ve never worn flip flops to church…