My excuse is that I waited up for my daughter to return home from a party late last night. That’s why I turned off the alarm and cuddled up with the cat instead of rolling out of bed to go to the early service at our church. We Lutherans love tradition and music, gifts that Marty himself wrote extensively about, but the later service seems to make me feel guiltier than ever with the thunderous, almost ominous organ music.
Years ago I attended a friend’s wedding, which was held in the Presbyterian Church adjacent to the State Capitol. As my friend’s elderly grandmother was being escorted up the aisle, the organ music took on a dramatic, almost cinematic feel, increasing in pitch and volume the closer “Oma” traveled to her seat. At the conclusion of the organ piece, a mutual friend who was seated with us—an older gentleman with no filter in social situations—practically exclaimed “Thank God!” producing a few suppressed chuckles from other guests. That has since become my association with organ music in any given situation.
“You’re ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? You put it at Eleven. Exactly. One louder.” Church organist style.
First, let me say that our organist does a great job and there are situations and settings when only organ music will do to set the tone. “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”, for example, is a hymn you feel in the center of your chest and there’s nothing meek about the tune. As for my granola-munching, sandal-wearing self, I opt for the early “hippy” service, replete with guitars and bongos. Plus we have one of the most talented musicians you’ll ever hear as the pianist. Just watching her play is a treat since she is so immersed in the music.
I love the Lord and my church family, but sometimes I want Sunday morning to myself. There’s a lot of guilt involved with being me and I can think reason after reason why I should toss the cat off my lap, hurriedly get dressed, and slip in the back pew while hoping my tardiness will go undetected. I see the older people in our congregation who struggle with mobility and I think of my own brother and his struggles—how he’d love to be able to get up and go somewhere on his own, unencumbered. These things make me feel even more guilty.
So why am I writing this blog and not moving my lazy butt from the futon? It’s a sunny autumn day. My bills are (mostly) paid, I have food in my fridge, I have a wonderful family and friends and a lot to be thankful for. Perhaps it’s because our congregation is in another phase of transition? Perhaps it’s to ask for forgiveness for skipping church? Whatever the reason I’m thankful that next Sunday when I roll in, slightly on the late side as usual, and slip into one of the pews near the back, I’ll still be welcome. Until then, Pippin the Cat and I will ease into the week, thankful for all we have. Amen.