When Jesus Went to First Church

by Rod Smith

When Jesus Went to First Church

When Jesus sat between the Walter Grumley and his wife, in the fifteenth row of First Church on Sunday morning, for some reason, in all of his infinite wisdom, He did not realize the stir that would arise. This began an unfortunate snowball or wave effect throughout the congregation. At least twelve families were displaced, each by one seat.

As people begrudgingly moved, they tried to communicate a welcome to the stranger (so he would be sure to return) laced with enough censure to make sure he would be put in his place (or at least not in theirs) the next time he visited. This uncharacteristic reshuffling moved almost everyone in the congregation for the first time in years, skewing everyone’s view.

The disruption extended the announcements sufficiently to annoy the choir who were waiting, fully robed, at the entrance to the sanctuary, hymnbooks in hand.

“I suppose of all people, I should have known better,” mused Jesus, all the while seeing the humor in Mr. Grumley’s polite, yet uncomfortable response after Jesus whispered His name to Grumley during the Passing of the Peace.

Grumley moved from side to side, a tad excited with the growing implications at this revelation. Not only did his surroundings take on a new look, he wanted to draw attention to the guest and let all the disrupted members know the inconvenience of having guests in church was worth it.

Alas, Introduction of Visitors was already over and the Congregational Needs were being announced. Besides, the choir was beginning to manifest its annoyance while standing just outside the doors. Unaccustomed as they were to being “out of the loop,” word had already gotten to them (it was usually the other way around) via the deacons, that a Stranger had entered the building and sat in Wally Grumley’s seat. They, who were usually first on everything, would be the very last to witness this unprecedented incident and, it had ruined, for the fist time in 40 years, their traditional procession.

“Tell them I am here,” said Jesus to Grumley. “Go on. Stand up. Say I am here.”

“You mean interrupt Congregational Needs?” whispered Grumley with a faint but gentle “shush” in his voice in an attempt to keep Jesus quiet.

“I am terribly sorry, but I am afraid we just do not do that here,” said Grumley in his library voice.

“What if I am telling you to do so?” persisted Jesus. “After all, the pastor just said, that if two or three are gather in my name then I am in the midst of them? So, go on tell them he’s right and I am here.”

Wally Grumley peered across to his wife.

“You do it Joy, you always said you would obey Jesus if he said something directly to you.”

“I think he is talking to you, Wally,” said Joy, her eyes fixed on the pulpit proceedings, totally unimpressed with her husband’s freedom with strangers.

“Well actually, I am talking to you both,” said Jesus rather loudly.

“You are interrupting my worship experience,” said Joy with an air of finality. “I have come here to meet with God if you don’t mind.”

“I am God. And, I am… err, here to be met.”

“Well, God just wouldn’t do it like this,” said Grumley’s wife, her teeth now clenched,  “God just wouldn’t just barge into our church and….”

She was lost for words.

“Do you believe I am here?” quizzed Jesus. “Well of course I believe you are here,” replied Wally.

“Then go ahead and tell them I am here.”

Joy tilted her head a hairbreadth toward her husband: “Will you stop talking during the service, even if it is to Jesus! If you don’t I am going to a quieter spot where I can enter the spirit of worship without interruption.”

“I will be challenging you to treat any stranger as you would treat Jesus,” said the pastor from the lower pulpit, “in my message today entitled Church Hospitality.”

Wally and Jesus looked at each other, and, after a moment, they burst into uproarious laughter, embraced like long lost friends and moved into the aisle in a celebratory dance. Wally, catching the pastor’s voice a little above the commotion caused by his newfound joy heard, “And now the choir will lead us in our opening hymn: Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus” as the deacons ushered the exuberant pair out the door.

One Comment to “When Jesus Went to First Church”

  1. A hilarious and plausible scenario! I’m planning on knowing Him when He and I meet.

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