The phone calls started coming at 7:15 am. Then another at 8 am. Another at 8:15. The caller was my dad, wondering when we were picking him up for church? How about…now?
We reassured him that we would pick him up in plenty of time and we would not be late.
I wanted to give my mom a morning off, so I had volunteered to take Dad to church. My husband, son and I arrived–on time–to Dad’s Board and Care…there he was, standing out front, looking worried. He didn’t recognize our car, but when he finally saw who was driving it, his face crumpled into a big grin.
Dad marched into church, heading toward a front row. I cringed. I like to sit in a back pew. Anonymous territory.
Plus, I worried what he might say or do. He can be inappropriate and impulsive, saying whatever comes to mind. Not long ago, my sister took him into Long’s Drugstore and Dad asked a very, very elderly woman if she was pregnant because she had a…considerable girth.
However, Dad sat quietly through the entire service. Remarkably calm. Even in his better days, Dad would not have been described as a calm person. Alzheimers’ disease has made him extremely anxious. All of the time! Except during church.
I’m not sure how much of the church service Dad understood, but I felt humbled as I observed his delight…just to be there.
How many times (most times!) do I rush off to church on a Sunday morning, late, squeezing it into an already over-scheduled weekend? Instead of really “being there,” I glance at my watch during the service or jot down a grocery list on the bulletin.
Even in Dad’s compromised state, he “gets” it. His weekend is arranged around Sunday morning. He starts anticipating church on Saturday, asks about getting there, prepares early (too early!) on Sunday morning. And while in church, he is wholly there.
Is that not true worship?
I think the Lord would agree.