When Jesus Went to First Church

by Rod Smith

When Jesus Went to First Church

When Jesus sat between 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 everyone for the first time in years.

The disruption extended the announcements sufficiently to annoy the choir 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 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. Wally wanted to let all the disrupted and displaced faithfuls 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 not only entered the building but had sat right in Wally Grumley’s seat. The choir, 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, the 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 Jesus 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 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.”

The pastor’s voice boomed from the lower pulpit: “I will be challenging you to treat any stranger as you would treat Jesus, in my message today, which I will preach from the upper pulpit, 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, the choir will lead us, 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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