“Taking” the offering

Though I’ve been in sort of a dry spell with my ‘musings’ as of late,  I had to share this story from my most recent preaching endeavor at the small, struggling church in Long Beach…

I’ve now preached there 3 times. This time the choir and the congregation were tied, 8-8.  Yes, that’s 8 people in the choir and 8 people in the congregation. The congregation was unfairly stacked with family friends Susan and Robin who came to hear me preach. So, I guess technically, the choir’s ahead by 2.

The sermon was over (you can read a version of it, “The End of Late Fees” in the Sermons section).  The two ushers had taken the offering (from the other 14 people) and had just walked down the center aisle and up to the front chancel area of the church.  All of a sudden a fairly disheveled looking man in a wheelchair came in from outside, wheeling himself up the center aisle, right to the front of the chancel, next to the ushers.  People sort of looked around, wondering what to do about this man—a dilemma between the good Christian ideal of welcoming the stranger and the social awkwardness of the stranger clearly deviating from the social customs.

So we all just kept singing. The man in the wheelchair waited patiently for the song to be over. When it was he leaned over to one of the ushers (still holding the offering plate) and said, “Can I have two bucks for the bus?”

Timing, apparently, is everything.

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