Reflections on Faith & Life for the Years of Winter…
Let’s have applause for…not doing it. Whatever “it” might be.
One of our pastors, Mary Beth Morgan, has been warning us—claiming it is voluntary, but we know what that means—that SSPES [“Sit Some Place Else Sunday”] is coming up. Palm Sunday, no less, which is chaotic enough as it is, what will all that palm waving and parading around.
She stated that “some place else” did not mean an entire section could just pick up and stake out a different spot, like a tribe of Israel in the desert. She specifically pointed out the likelihood of The Alfred Hitchcock Society--so named because we sit in the North by Northwest [NNW] part of the sanctuary--being likely culprits to move en masse. Needless to say, Helen and I sit in that area. We may even have had a hand in naming it.
The problem is that NNW has a lot of old people and other misfits. I was pretty sure that once scattered, they would not be able to find their way back home on subsequent Sundays. So I hatched a plan. Yes, we NNW folks would scatter, but on the Sunday before SSPES, I would hand out to all the citizens of NNW home-made but nicely done maps pointing the way back to NNW come Easter, with various instructions in case obstacles were encountered on the way, etc. Sort of a biblical journey--how to part the waters to get through, where to find manna, etc.
Then I got to thinking about it… which is always a problem with my plans. I knew Mark and Michael would have fun with it, just because they are like that. Doran and Mary Ellen would be indulgent, saying, “Oh, you young whippersnappers.” Bill and Pat would think it's a hoot. Janice and the Shirleys [a great name for a girl singing trio] would be a bit befuddled but okay with it. Byron would be polite. So would Janis, and Randy would laugh heartily. Martha would be late, but that would be no problem, because Carle would swing into head-usher mode and be sure everyone got a map. And therein lay the problem…
At St. Mark’s, NNW is back-left, easily accessed by latecomers and newcomers. Being handed a map for future excursions when you have no idea what is happening even in the present would be enough for some folks to leave immediately to worship at St. Arbucks, just down the hill.
So I didn’t do it. One of my best ideas, and I would get no applause, no accolades, no affirmation, because no one ever knows when we do NOT do something.
Oh, yeah, it’s great to get big hand for doing something, but most of my best stuff is in the category of “It’s good because I did NOT do it.” Nobody ever applauds because we did NOT do something stupid, because they don’t know about it. It’s quite frustrating to get criticism for stupid stuff you do while getting no accolades for stupid stuff you DON’T do.
So give yourself a hand. You’re the only one who knows how much you deserve it.
Being an advance planner, Helen was looking forward to sitting with a favorite friend on the east side until I pointed out to her that he would have to sit some place else on SSPES, too.