Dream of: 11 November 2002 "Feeling At Home In Church"

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Nebo Church. Sunday morning. I entered. The pews, the floor, the walls, the pulpit – all were constructed from rough dark brown wood. People were sitting in most of the pews in the back; I had to walk half-way toward the front before I could find an empty space – I didn't want to sit right next to anyone.

After I had taken my seat, more people entered and looked for places to sit. My father and my mother walked in – not together but separate – and each found a place to sit, not close to each other. On an impulse, I walked right down to the front row. Instead of sitting in a pew, I pulled up a hard-back chair and sat right in front of the pulpit. What would the pastor think to see me sitting so close? I didn't think I would be impressed with his sermon. I had seen him before – a thin black-haired country man (probably in his late 30s).

Again I changed seats, moving to the front pew, next to the aisle. I lowered my head, held my hand over my eyes and waited. Why was I feeling emotional about being there, almost as if I were going to cry? Did I even belong there? I wasn't Christian, and I had no intention of being so. Yet somehow, non-Christian that I was, I felt at home there. Of all the churches in the world, this little white church in the country was the one church where I felt as if I half-way belonged. So what if I weren't Christian – I could stay here if I wanted.

It was time to pass the plate. A woman walked to the front and picked up the offering plate. She headed in my direction. Ordinarily I wouldn't give anything, but I decided I would give a dollar. I pulled out my billfold and opened it, fat with twenty dollar bills. I hoped the woman wouldn't see all the 20s; surely she would think I should give more than a dollar. And maybe I should give more than a dollar; it wouldn't kill me. There was a five in my billfold – I pulled it out and stuck it in the plate. Had the woman even noticed I had given a whole five dollar bill? She moved on with no indication.

I settled back in my seat, a little more at ease. In front of the pulpit, about  a meter away from me, stood a table with assorted items spread out all over it. The items appeared to be items for a church rummage sale. I reflected that I had recently had a garage sale and quite a few toys had been left over. Maybe I would bring them in and donate them to the church for the rummage sale.

02 December 2015

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