Saturday, December 28, 2013

When Moses Comes to Church

Oh no. I dug around in my purse. Despite three trips back and forth to my car through the snowy parking lot, carrying boxes and bags and banners and tablecloths and computer case for my presentation in church that morning, I had forgotten my Bible. Again.

“Here comes the Wycliffe Bible-less translator” I muttered to myself and tugged at my shirt. It still wouldn’t fit right.  No Bible and now a wardrobe malfunction. Great.

But I pasted on a smile, readjusted my nametag which enjoyed stabbing me in the clavicle, took a deep breath, and trotted up the aisle to the pastor’s waiting side. “And now, I would like to introduce you to one of my heroes of the faith!”

I stared at him in shock. Did he just really say that? In front of them??! Into the microphone!!?

Oh no. Oh dear God, oh no. 

But it was too late.

As I clicked through my powerpoint slides and with a growing desperation, shared story after story of the work God is doing in Papua New Guinea and how He continues to proclaim His Gospel and truth and of my gratefulness in the church’s faithful partnership in this ministry, standing by me even in my weakness, and how others can be involved in missions... I watched my words bounce off the congregation’s admiring faces.

After all, it’s not many days that a true Hero comes and speaks. Why, it’s practically like having Hudson Taylor or Billy Graham or Moses sharing this morning!

“Oh, Lord! And let us be like Catherine, the missionary...” another pastor prays fervently, his hands lifted toward the ceiling, while I shrink in my seat, tucking my feet under the pew (bare since I kicked off my shoes). And I wonder if there’s anything else I can do, short of throwing myself off this horrific pedestal in a giant flaming ball of proclamation while waving a sign screaming “GOD USES SINNERS, HALLELUJAH!”

Or maybe I could just go smoke a cigarette in the parking lot.

Because, I know that once again, as I wait by my table after the service, greeting the fluffy white haired ladies and braver children, I will watch the traditional American suburban family, skirt around the edge of the foyer, slipping on their coats, glancing at me out of the corner of their eye.

Missions was for heroes. Missions was for those other people who memorized 700 verses in two days and whose children never wipe their snotty noses on their coat sleeves. Missions was for people who never got crabby, never faked a smile, always dressed beautifully, and never forgot their Bibles when they went to church.

Like that girl.