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Sleeping In Church

18 Feb Posted by in Random Observations | Comments

You know what I struggle with at church? Remembering that Revelation doesn’t have an “s” on the end, sorting through all the family lineages, and staying awake during the sermon. Don’t get me wrong, usually I am completely hooked. But sometimes, I don’t care how good it is, sometimes I lose that battle between sleep and divine inspiration. 

It starts somewhere between Hershel Jenkin’s prayer request for his neighbor’s gall bladder surgery and Beula Simm’s warbled solo of  “What a friend we have in Jesus” that explains the gathering of dogs outside the window. That feeling – where the eyelids get heavy and the eyeballs start to sort of take on a life of their own.

You’re good for like the first ten minutes and you’re energetically taking notes and then it starts to get a little bit warmer – and you’re wondering what you’re going to eat for lunch – and your focus starts to blur – and your head starts to bob on that imaginary whip cord. And you’re trying to look like you’re really focused and listening intently and trying to look holy all at the same time. It can be exhausting.

Bob, smile, nod. Bob, smile, nod. I’m just going to rest my eyes for one second – bob, smile, nod. And then, genius that you are, you tilt your head face down so you will look like you’re staring intently at the Bible in your lap – the one whose words are now swimming over each other and coming at you in three dimension – which for a second you think is really cool – and that’s the last thing you see as your eyes cross and close.

This is about the time the silent snore enters the picture. The silent snore that ends in a choking snort which wakes you up and you jerk to attention – filled with embarassment adrenalin - and you smile politely and continue frantically scribbling your notes and praying, thinking that they should give you an Emmy for this. And you look at your watch, and it’s been seven minutes. And the battle continues.

Sometimes you win, but most times you lose, whereupon your head slings back in unadulterated slumber and you’re just starting to dream about pearly gates and fried chicken and the new Madonna video, when WHAM your head hits the back of the wooden pew – the wooden pew designed by preachers to punish people for falling asleep.

I remember the time Bo Beam fell asleep and slept through the entire sermon, forty-seven verses of the altar call, and the closing prayer. And we left him there. No kidding, the entire church sneaked out quietly, figuring he could use some extra time in the house of the Lord. Word is, he woke up around supper time and it was dark in the church and he was convinced that the rapture had come and he’d been left behind in this empty church as the only heathen among ‘em – destined to live through the tribulation - and it was probably God’s design that he start him a new congregation, and by golly, he made himself pastor and head deacon before Louise the church secretary came back to get her sweater. He hasn’t fallen asleep in church since.  And now considers himself interim pastor.

If you’re new to church, let me just tell you right now in case you’re wondering why you have to be quiet. It’s because people are sleeping!

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