I'm getting ready for my annual visit to church for Easter Sunday worship, because, in spite of all I do the other 364 days of the year, I am a Christian at heart. And even more, I get to see a lot of my friends from the neighborhood, the car wash, the club — you name it.
Over the past two years, I've gone to church on Easter and sat there taking it all in — Jesus, his death, the Resurrection and a chance for my salvation. But this year before I go, I have a few questions I'd like to have answered.
First of all, why does church service last so long? I know you can't hurry God, but even He knows that after a few hours of sitting, the wood of those pews gets extremely hard. Most churches have clocks somewhere on the wall, but it's as if no one pays them any attention on Easter. (I wouldn't know about the other Sundays.) There ought to be a limit. Or maybe even better, they could set an alarm to go off an hour after church starts. At the sound of the alarm, everyone leaves.
Speaking of long, why are the church announcements so lengthy? There ought to be some kind of limit on the time the announcer takes to read them and the number of people allowed to make impromptu announcements (especially those who just make announcements so we can see their new Easter outfits). There is a simple solution. The announcements on any Sunday should not be any longer than the Scripture for the day. Anyone with an additional announcement should just send out a mass text message to the congregation.
Can the church folks arrange a before-Sunday service fashion show? I noticed my clothes looked a bit different from what the majority of folks were wearing last Easter. The hats were different, and all of the colors were brighter. No one wore sneakers. (I don't know why.) For those of us who are in the CME Club (Christmas, Mother's Day and Easter), a fashion show to help us would be nice.
Who told the preacher that he must have a throne-sized seat and new, pastel-colored shoes on his feet? When I go to church on Easter, I am trying to get right for the rest of the year. I'm not trying to hang out with Mac Daddy. Sometimes, it's as if the preachers get the message all twisted. They focus on being the king on the throne or putting a gleam in somebody's eye. A suggestion: Stick with preaching the word. Tell us how we can get to heaven when we die.
Can I take a songbook home? It would make a nice souvenir, and besides, I really need it. Two years ago, the music was jumping and I stood up to clap and sing with the choir, "I can't stop making it rain. I just can't stop making it rain." When I sat down, the lady next to me explained the choir was singing, "Can't stop praising His name. I just can't stop praising His name." I hadn't heard that one before. If I took the songbook home, I would be more familiar when I return next year.
And why do we have to fellowship — shake hands and hug while the choir sings and claps — in the middle of the worship service? That's where some of the fights start. What if a brother hugs another brother's wife for too long? Problems. Just smile, wave or flash the deuces. You get the same intended result.
Do you really need to take up more than one offering? For those who are not regular attendees, it can be a huge shock when you drop your money in one collection plate, then the choir sings and there's another collection plate. And just before you go, there's one for the road. Send the plates around one time and one time only. If you need more, I'll catch you next time — next Easter, that is.
Denise Stewart is a freelance writer and churchgoer in Alabama.