Sunday, March 16, 2014


Excuse me, God?...Can I tell you something?  I just want to thank you for the many great things you've done for me at First United Methodist Church.  From dressing like pirates to mad scientist, hog calling to Superman, from portraying "Grace" to even airing out my dirty laundry (literally) in the pulpit, this church always makes me and one of my crazy ideas feel welcome.  Today as I recollect on 14 years as part of your congregation, I want to take a few posts to appreciate your gifts and, today, thank you for the laughter.  

"Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; 
then they said among the nations, 'The Lord has done great things for them."  Psalm 126:2

I'm not sure you remember this, God, but it was early Summer 2005.  You see, Levi was just a baby, Violet was a toddler in the Noah's Ark Sunday School Room, and Isaac would have been about 20 months.  Back in those days, You could find me, a mother of four now, crawling around the floor of the nursery with our little Hottlings.  On any given Sunday, one would surely find a tiny Ben Golden, Laura Davisson, and eventually Chago Ellis climbing about "Mr. Dan" while I changed diapers and ran snack duty.  

Although those many Sundays in the nursery and eventually preschool rooms are such a blur, there is one consistent occurance.  We always cranked the nursery mic.  You see, with a large family, it was rarely that both my Hotthubby and I were in service together for worship.  Instead, we found ourselves playing with children.  This was our service.  This was our love.

So, we managed to catch bits and pieces of Your messages, God.  And, you know what?  It seemed like there was something pretty cool happening upstairs every Sunday.  Never knowing exactly what was being said, there sure was one thing for certain:  Laughter!

Coming from a traditional service, hearing the congregation crack up every Sunday was a welcomed change of scenery.  One random Sunday, the crowd seemed to be enjoying Your message with an extra dose laughter. It sounded like the opening monologue of SNL was happening upstairs.  I will never forget it when, out of the blue, the multitude of voices creating the latest laugh sountrack suddenly ceased.  Followed by a few seconds of silence, there came over the speaker the loudest "har-har-har!" we ever heard.  "Har! Har! Ha!"  


Momentarily, even the babies froze for an instant.  Each one individually turned their chubby little cheeks to stare at the painted speaker on the wall.  

"Mommy!"  yelled Isaac (he was an early talker), "did you hear that!?"  

"Well, yes, I did hear that..." (thinking that everyone at Sheetz heard it too)!

"Let's go upstairs!  Let's go see upstairs NOW, mommy!  Can we go?  It's ELMO!  I hear Elmo laughing!  Elmo's here!"

"Uh, no Isaac....

... that would be Pastor Andrew."
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