This past week, I had a voice tap me on the shoulder and suggest that if I didn’t go to church, that I could get “Our Cave” done, and maybe even the laundry. And then the other voice tapped my shoulder and told me not to over shoot my hope that the laundry will never be done. I know how to get a hold of the sermon on Monday, I watch Darkwood Brew. I could just miss this week, and no harm done, and the cave would be done.
While never even presenting said option to my family, I told the voices to leave me alone, that I like church. I go for the fellowship. So I made them all shower AND brush their teeth and to get in the darned car so we can get there on time. So, we went to church. We sat in our regular seats. We like sitting in the front, because we are super tall people, and so we always get defaulted to the back of whatever we’re attending to except church. We know that no one will make us sit in the back at church. That would be a major flaw of an open and accepting church. Almost every week, we sit in front of a charming (less tall) couple who knows we’re going to plop in front of them. But this week, it was different family who was there first. So we just sat in front of them instead.
Church started and I noticed the people behind us were whispering. We greeted them, and said hello to all of our pew neighbors and then continued on with the service. The whispering continued. And then it continued some more. I looked back a couple of times and smiled. It’s not that the new family was loud, but it was what seemed to be an incessant PSSSSSSST this and SSSSSST that.
So I leaned forward and rested my head on my hands, my elbows on my legs. I must have looked so attentive to the sermon! The whispering voices continued. The voice in my head suggested, “Look Les, it’s not like it’s those people’s fault that you are so easily distracted. Leaning forward seems to help. Try to focus.” Then another voice: “Look! Something shiny!” Ack.
By the time the sermon was over, but the whispering was not, I’d gone through the gamut of reasons this was happening.
Voice: “Maybe they’re visitors, don’t say something nasty or glare. Be glad they are hear.”
Voice: “Maybe the kid has a disability and the mom is whispering to him to soothe him. Awww, that’s kind of sweet, right?”
Voice: “Wait a second, the sermon’s on voices. And there’s an incessant voice behind you. Is this a plant? Did Elnes set this up?”
Chris Alexander later confirmed that it was no set up on their part, but perhaps a Divine Set up.
I left church a bit mift. I could have stayed home, read the sermon later when I could focus better, and finished my cave that a previous voice may or may not have told me to build. Why did that family come to church and talk through the ENTIRE service? Why did I bother going when I could have done other things a wee more productive?
And then it hit me, very subtly while I was watching Darkwood Brew Skype guest, Carl McColman mentioned that community is a part of our own personal discernment.
In the same recent episode and discussion, Dr. Elnes suggests that God doesn’t just waft out ideas, and then just leave us alone. In the mystical path – they’re always about discernment and throwing out challenges. The voice of God will return to you. Don’t base it on one encounter with God. We should keep returning and inviting the Holy Spirit forward. Hear God’s voice saying, friend, move forward.
I mean, in that church service, I was physically moving forward to deter the voices. But seriously, I blog about the need to be outwardly kind to people, always. I need to do an inward check, too. It’s the voice, returning to me. So, I guess I’ll keep moving forward. But I still think the whispering family was a plant.