Today’s story seed is In the Church Parking Lot.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
It started out as such a good day. As the sunlight streamed through the window, the man quietly got out of bed as to not disturb his wife. It was Sunday, his favorite day of the week.
As was his custom on Sundays, he put on his running shorts, socks, shoes and shirt. He did a few stretches. Then off he went on a five-mile run. The birds were singing, the sky was blue, and he felt at peace.
When he got back home, his wife was still sleeping.After showering and putting on his church clothes, he kissed his wife on the cheek to wake her up. This was the only day of the week she got to sleep in. She smiled at him and dragged herself out of bed. He went to the kitchen and began to read the news on his computer.
When it was just about time to go to church, he called to his wife and asked, “Honey are you ready?”
“Almost,” she responded.
He waited a couple more minutes, and then impatiently said, “It’s time to go.”
“Just give me a minute. I’m brushing my hair.”
After another minute he knocked on the bathroom. “We’ve got to leave!”
“I’m going to the bathroom. For heaven’s sake, just give me minute.”
The ride over to church was rather chilly even though it was a warm day. He said, “I don’t know why every time we go to church you have to make us late.”
“We’ll be fine, and watch your speed you’re driving too fast.”
A traffic light turned yellow, and he accelerated through the intersection. “My God, why are driving so fast?”
“Because you’ve made us late. You always do this, and you don’t seem to care.”
They arrived at church not talking to each other. When they went in, they acted as if nothing had happened, but inside they were full of anger with each other.
And how about you? Or me? Do we go into church so upset we aren’t talking? Things happen and we get upset. No doubt God understands that. It is good to bring our problems to God. It’s not good to pretend everything is fine.
When we know what to do, it is best to take care of it. Do you know what this couple would have benefitted from before they went into church? What works for you? Perhaps all it takes is to reach out and take your spouse’s hand. I have heard experienced couples say that “you can’t fight while your holding hands.”
Maybe what works for you is taking a few breaths to try to let the disagreement pass. A brief heartfelt apology can do wonders. Some couples like to call for a “do over” where they get a second chance at getting along.
Reconciling our differences is not a small thing, and it’s not a one-time event. Furthermore, it’s not something just for spouses. That’s why I know about it. The whole family gets in on this one.
And the lessons also apply to those who are in religious orders. We have to reconcile our differences about who was supposed to clean the kitchen, why is the TV up so loud, and who likes conversation in the morning and who doesn’t.
It could be a small thing you need to reconcile. It could be a large thing. Only you and God know for sure.
Stop and look at your life this lenten season. Ask yourself, “What do you need to reconcile?” And get a move on it. We don’t want to be late for church.
Now let’s take 30 seconds to water the seed…
What reconciliation are you longing or dreading to make?