"It is not," I muttered under my breath when the deacon with the announcements said, "Good morning." The problem with someone who is upwards of 80% hearing loss muttering is that it may not be as "under the breath" as he supposed. Despite the cacophony of "good morning" replies, he heard me and with a slightly startled expression said, "Well, good morning, Keith."
Well, it was NOT a good morning. The hurried hurricane prep before there was much thought of Dorian turning any way but right over us had my injured shoulders aching, and ladders are the bane of aging hips. To top it off, the transmitter that goes to my hearing aids was mailed off to the shop. When I have it, I can put it in the pulpit and tune my aids to "it only" reception. That means the speaker's voice is as close as though his mouth was at my ear but I can still see him to lip read. Baby noises and other noises are as far from my ear as they are from the speaker and my transmitter.
Most speakers drop their voices at the end of a phrase, especially with punchlines. Most men who lead prayers think it is more reverent to lower their voices and sound systems magnify the whispery quality of such voices. The transmitter enables me to have any hope of understanding either. And, it allows me to relax and enjoy a good sermon by a good speaker.
At 72, I was tired, sore, aching; I came anyway. I made a couple of fairly decent comments in Bible class, in fact the best ones made (by virtue of being the only ones made). I knew that I would not be able to hear the announcements or the prayers. I came anyway. At best, my hearing is a fill in the blank process wherein I hear some sounds, lip-read some sounds and make educated guesses at the other sounds to form a sentence and a paragraph and make sense of a speech. I was too tired to manage that effort on a consistent basis and got very little from the sermons. Things just do not make sense when you only get a word here, a phrase there, a sentence or two somewhere else. I knew it would likely be that way before I left the house--but I came anyway.
What do you do when it is NOT a good day? Is it an excuse?
Well, someone asks, "What did you get out of it?"
First, that is the wrong question, we are at church to give, not to get, And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Heb 10:24-25). I was there which spoke where my loyalties and faith are. In the intermissions, I spoke words of encouragement to some that I knew needed such. I sang. Now, I cannot even tell if I am on a key, much less which one, so I try to keep my volume down to avoid ruining the worship of others. I was happy, with the exception of that blurted sentence, which was not meant to be heard.
Second, I took my place in a house built of living stones for a habitation of God in the Spirit. God was there; I was there. The place of worship would have been less had my stone been absent. All would have been affected.
And yes, we are there to be built up as we build others. I worshipped as best I could, prayed my own prayers while others prayed together, sang, gave, took the Lord's Supper with the family of God, my family, and left feeling it was not such a bad morning after all.
So are you there, "Anyway?" or only when the stars align and it is convenient?
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Give thanks unto him, and bless his name. For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness endures forever, and his faithfulness unto all generations. (Ps 100:4-5).