This weekend I went to church. I didn’t want to go; I thought about staying home. As I turned into the parking lot I considered whipping the car around and going back home.
But I didn’t.
I went in and took a seat. Our crowd was low due to sickness and a four-day holiday weekend. The music did not move me; odd, since there is always one song or one phrase that catches me. Communion did not pierce me as it usually does. My spirit was dull.
I dug in my purse to find a pen to take notes. Not one to be found. I am a teacher and a librarian and no pen or pencil? Seriously? My daughter handed me one, and our minister started to speak.
Here’s the crazy thing. Our minister is one of our dearest friends, so when he speaks there’s an element of conversation—a dialogue of sorts, but I was a little off kilter and so the first part of his message filtered in and filtered out (sorry, Dave). His message was about gifts under the tree this Christmas.
I didn’t want to hear about Christmas. I had had enough of Black Friday (and I didn’t even go shopping) and I had already heard way too much about Cyber Monday. The subliminal headlines in everything I read or heard was buy, buy and buy. So, Christmas was not on my high list of priorities or even on my agenda yet. But here was Dave preaching about the gifts under the tree.
Where are you going with this, Dave? He let me know. He asked, “Do you have peace under your Christmas tree this season?” If you answered the question no then he suggested several things to help you find that peace. Typical message, right?
Nope, not with Dave.
Dave wasn’t talking about world peace. Dave was talking about personal peace, and what we must do to find it.
Now remember I was zoned out during the first part of his message. Little did I know the Holy Spirit was sitting in the row right behind me. As Dave began to discuss this last point, the Spirit leaned forward and tapped me on the shoulder. He whispered in my ear, “Are you listening? You need to pay attention. This one is for you.”
Dave’s final point. If you want peace in your life there are some relationships that must be restored. There are some people in our lives that we just simply have to decide to love regardless. And forgive anyway.
Again the Spirit nudged me just to make sure I was taking notes.
I was. Reluctantly.
Dave asked, “Are there people in your life who are just mean? Family members who have wounded you in some way? Is there somebody who makes you want to grit your teeth and clench your fists? If you want peace in your life you got to love and pray for them anyway.”
And the Spirit whispered that somebody’s name in my ear.
I didn’t want to hear this message. Maybe I should have just stayed at home, then I wouldn’t have heard this challenge and I wouldn’t have had such an inner struggle.
Today, the Spirit whispered another name in my ear.
Obviously I needed this message.
Good thing I didn’t stay home.
Lord, please help me with regardless and anyway.