My brother and I called it “Big Church.” And it happened every Sunday.
Every Sunday! Starting in the 2nd grade!
We went to Sunday School, then Big Church. Luckily, most Sundays we’d get a donut in between.
But even after a donut - or maybe especially after a donut, with our bodies jittery from that deep fried goodness - Big Church was tough to endure. First, we had to stand and sing hymns along with the orchestra and choir. Then we had to sit through Pastor Meers’ achingly-long, pulpit-pounding sermon (we were Baptists, after all).
There was no flannel graph, no PowerPoint slides, just words. So many words. The most exciting part was when a number lit up on the sign above the doorway and young parents had to go relieve children’s workers who couldn’t handle their crazed toddler.
I may be exaggerating a little bit, but not much.
Later in life I realized Reverend Meers was a really nice guy. But at the age of 7 or 8 I wasn’t so sure while sitting nervously in my Sunday best while powdered donut sugar coursed through my veins.
Were you forced to go to Big Church, too? Maybe that’s all there was? Or worse, there weren’t any donuts!
While I can look back on the temper tantrums I threw then (and laugh about the vocation I’m in now), I am incredibly grateful for Big Church, Pastor Meers, and donuts.
But most of all, I’m thankful for my mom.
At the outset of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he writes,
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Timothy, a fellow pastor/missionary, was young in his faith (see 1st Timothy 4.12). But his faith was sincere. It had been handed down from his grandmother Lois to his mother Eunice to Timothy himself. I bet many of us share a similar story to Timothy, that our mothers not only gave us the gift of life, but the gift of faith.
May we express our thanksgiving to God for our mothers, and express gratitude to our mothers themselves, if they are still with us.
My mom will be sitting in one of those same pews at that same church in my hometown this Sunday. And I probably wouldn’t be in Good Shepherd’s pews if it weren’t for her.
So thanks for dragging me to “Big Church,” mom. I’m so grateful for you. Maybe even more grateful than I am for donuts.