Monday, November 4, 2013

What Makes a Really Good Day at Church?

I had a scout campout this weekend.  We went to a scout camp nearby, shot guns, threw knives, and launched softballs out of a six-foot slingshot.  It was awesome.

I got nervous, though, because I realized I had forgotten to make arrangements for someone to teach the youth Sunday School class1. I managed to make way to church in time to teach a lesson, but only with 10 minutes to spare.  And I was wearing the clothes I had been wearing to the campout.  In my defense, I put on my newest shirt.  It really was the best thing I had to wear.  I hadn't shaved in two days, my hair was matted and probably nasty looking.

So anyway, I walk in to the church and hang out by the classroom I'm expecting to teach in.  I see some of the students, and this is the conversation we had.

"Are you teaching us today?"

"I thought I was, but I just saw I have an e-mail from [teacher] that says she's going to be here and teaching today."

"REALLY!  Oh that's so awesome!"

They completely lost any interest in anything I might have to say.  And I was completely dead to them as soon as they saw the little newborn.  It was a good moment.

I went to Sunday School for the first time in...I can't remember the last time I went to a Sunday School class.   I didn't stay long.  I got up to check that the baby wasn't being a problem in the other class.  No problems there.  I took a moment to recommend a second teacher for that class (something I should have done weeks ago, apparently).

Next I got pulled away by a member of the bishopric.  I was informed that they had recruited a new Sunday School president, and, although I had been assisting the former president, I was not being retained in the new leadership.  I have mixed feelings about that, but there's really nothing to be done, and I don't feel like going into it right now.  What struck me as funny was the counselor who informed me and thanked me for my time then asked me, "so what other callings2 do you have right now?  I'm sure you're doing three or four."

Technically, I do have one other calling, but it kind of went defunct over a year ago, so effectively, with the termination of the Sunday School service, I have no official volunteerism in the congregation.  When I said as much, the counselor stated, "That's odd.  It seems like you're always doing something, or someone is always looking for you."

Yes, I'm bragging.  Because I felt good right then.

There were two other moments that really made my day at church. First, one of the women caught me in the hall.  "You just got back from camping, didn't you?"  The tone made it clear that this was a statement, not a real question.

"Is it that obvious?" I asked.

Her eyes scanned me from head to toe, then back up again.  "Yes." she declared.  The she sniffed the air.  "But I can't smell you, so that's good."  And then she went about her business.  I was highly amused.

Lastly, when I sat down in the chapel for Sacrament meeting, I noticed the Deacon's Quorum President coming down the aisle.  It is his responsibility to recruit other priesthood holders to help distribute the sacramental bread and water to the congregation, and since he's somewhat familiar with me, it isn't uncommon for him to ask me to help.  He approached my pew.  I made eye contact, and I saw his lips start to move.  For a second, I thought, He's totally going to ask me to pass the sacrament in my gross camping clothes.  Then he thought better of it.  But the near-invitation still made me smile.


Next month's camping trip will probably be close enough that I'll be able to make it back in time for church.  It's a bit of a bonus for me; the choir is singing that day.  I'm wondering if I should pack something traditionally-church-appropriate or wear the usual camping clothes.  Perhaps I should buy a shirt like this one and wear that for the choir performance.  Put it to a vote?

1 The usual teacher has been in enjoying (enduring? tolerating?) postpartum recovery and I've been coordinating/teaching her class in her absence. Ironically, after making the effort to get back in time to teach, I showed up to find her making her return appearance. It was a happy reunion for all of them.
2 In LDS terminology, a calling is an invitation to volunteer in some capacity of the congregation's administrative or ministerial arm.


  1. No to the tee shirt, it is for Prom. :)

  2. You just need to find your "Say yes to Jesus" shirt