I am really excited to share this next parable with you, because I am really excited to share Gayl with you. Gayl is the real deal, living just a day-trip from my house, I think of her house as a retreat. I just feel so loved there. I also love this post. It is rare that something literally makes me laugh out loud. Enjoy. You can read the whole series here.
The Kingdom of God is like a Surprise During Church
One recent Sunday morning I played the piano for our Anglican church. The piano is electronic and has buttons that will change to practically any style of music. For our purposes it is usually set for grand piano, which is nice for the hymns and musical responses.
What I did that morning was quite unexpected to me and to the rest of the congregation. Our minister said afterward that it was about the second most memorable thing that has happened in the history of the church, the first being when they almost burned down the building during an Ash Wednesday service.
We had moved into the second part of the service which is the Eucharist. During this time of preparation for communion we have a lot of prayers, and with some we sing responses. Every time I think about what happened I can’t help but laugh, although at the time it didn’t seem quite appropriate. (I’ll just say right here that in telling this story I don’t mean to be sacrilegious at all, but share an analogy.)
After praying a corporate confession of sins and hearing assurances of forgiveness from scripture, our minister leads us into the next part by using these words from the 1928 Prayer Book:
It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God. THEREFORE with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious Name; evermore praising thee, and saying,
At this point we USUALLY reverently and majestically sing the following, also from the Prayer Book:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts,
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory:
Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.
What happened instead was quite a surprise.
While the minister had been saying the introductory part, my finger accidently hit a button, changing the setting of the piano. I quickly tried to get it back to grand piano, and at one point it looked like it was. Instead, it must have been just scrolling through the different options.
When I played the first chord, it burst out into a very loud polka with a drumbeat.
Needless to say, it really livened up the service, and woke up some people who were feeling sleepy. Our minister was having a hard time keeping himself from laughing out loud. I quickly turned the volume down, lifted up my hands and calmly said, “I don’t know what to do.” A couple of years ago, I probably would have panicked and gotten shaky, but I really did stay calm this time.
The other pianist came and turned it off, then back on showing me that in doing so it would reset. (I must have been shown that before but did not remember at the time.) Anyway we got it fixed and proceeded with the service as our minister composed himself and repeated the call to praise and magnify our great God.
The kingdom of God is like an unexpected polka.
In our church services we pray the same prayers and sing the same responses every week. If we are not careful in that routine, we might just go through the motions not even thinking about what we are saying. Sometimes we need a wake up call, like a blast of the unfamiliar.
There are also times in our everyday life that we just go through the motions. We don’t always think about God or other people or anything in particular. It’s as if we are asleep to anything outside of our own sphere. Sometimes God throws out something very unexpected to wake us up and put us back on the right path.
The unexpected polka reminds me that God’s love for me is not based on my actions.
It was a big mistake but He doesn’t disapprove of me because I caused a stir in Church. He knows I make mistakes but loves me just the same.
Our minister also said something that made a lot of sense. I don’t remember the exact words, but something to the effect that when we all stand before God with the angels and all the host of heaven, we probably won’t be singing very quietly.
We will be shouting and dancing in joy and praise much like that unexpected polka.
Gayl Wright makes her home in beautiful upstate South Carolina. She is a seeker of truth who looks for beauty in ordinary things. A self-taught poet, photographer and artist, she loves to capture what she finds using her talents to encourage others and glorify God. You can find Gayl on twitter, Instagram and her blog.