Election Day the sanctuary was opened for people to stop by and pray. A funny thing happened on the way to Election Day prayer. The custodians would blow out the candles, turn off the lights, and lock the doors. I know it happened at least twice during the day because I unlocked the doors, turned on the lights and lit the candles. All day prayer is hard enough but with custodians locking the building, it made the prayer event more challenging.
The custodians were simply being good custodians. This was a last minute idea so the custodians didn’t have Sanctuary Opened All Day on the sacred and holy building usage print out. Since they work very hard during the day cleaning, I didn’t bump into them to tell them either. They were doing their jobs, which include blowing out the candles, turning off the lights and locking the doors.
The evening custodian reported to me that someone had left the doors unlocked, the lights on and the candles burning, before he secured the building. I smiled, thanked him and went across the street to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and light the candles again.
My meditation for the evening communion service was entitled, “The Aftermath.” I’m not a prophet and I won’t tell you how I voted but I sensed that no matter the outcome there would be “weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth” on Wednesday morning. I got that right! The meditation reminded us all that “Yea though I walk through the valley of the aftermath, I will fear no evil for thou art with me.” How are you doing in the aftermath?
I have been seeking a distraction in the aftermath of the election. I found the mind-numbing Hallmark channel line-up of sappy Christmas movies. A mindless distraction with a happy ending is a good thing right now. Hallmark Christmas movies star the same actors and actresses. I noticed something the other night, not only is the cast the same for most of the movies, the plots are very similar.
The Hallmark Christmas movies have a formula. Boy or girl is thrown into a situation where they meet their soulmate. There is attraction and a budding romance forms. Then about ¾ of the way through the show the budding romance is threatened by some conflict. There is brief anxiety before the couple gets back together, kisses under the mistletoe, resolves their Christmas conflict and lives happily ever-after or at least until next the Christmas season of the Hallmark movies. The movies are relaxing because you know it is the Hallmark channel and there will be a happily ever after ending.
Life and the Hallmark channel share no relationship in reality. Sometimes patterns do repeat and scripts can be followed, other times it seems that all heck is breaking loose. It is called living. You will find in the moments of greatest chaos that God is present. Even when things are not working out as you planned or wished; God is present.
I have a prayer ritual when I unlock the doors, turn on the lights and light the altar candles. Even though the custodians didn’t know it, they kept me praying all day.
When the formula doesn’t work and the expected doesn’t materialize, what do you do?