Whenever we miss a few weeks of church, I feel compelled to explain the absence to my daughter’s Sunday school teacher, or anyone else who will listen for that matter.
If we’ve been out of town for a few weekends in a row, I’ll make sure to use some not-so-subtle sentences that tell the teacher where we’ve been when I drop off my daughter at the door. “Here’s L.E. She can’t wait to tell you about the beach.” Or, “L.E. is excited about Sunday School and wants to share all about her trip to the mountains, where we were last week, and not worshipping Satan somewhere if that’s what you assumed by our absence.”
Why do I do that? Part of the reason is that, at our church, there are so many kids that they have to carefully assign headcount to certain rooms. And there’s a big chart of sticker nametags hanging on the door. If you miss too many weeks, they remove your kid’s name from the wall. Like that scene in Back to the Future where Michael J. Fox disappears from the photo, your kid no longer exists in that room.
It doesn’t stop with Sunday School, though. I’ll catch myself trying to explain why we missed church to random people who happen to sit in our same section week after week. I don’t know their last names, but I still feel compelled to let them know we had perfectly legitimate reasons not
to be at church for a few weeks.
Maybe it’s a pastor’s kid thing. Church is what we did every Sunday morning. Not attending was out of the question. That would have been like giving both God and my dad the middle finger, so we went. Maybe it’s a fear thing too. I think people who are regular church attendees have a closer relationship with God; and in case I ever come up in their conversation with him, I want to make sure they have the most accurate attendance information and can pass on my excuses directly to him. Or maybe I think God is up there with a checklist like Santa Claus, and when he sees me miss church, that’s like a huge black mark.
It’s probably a potpourri of all three things, which stinks a little, but I’ll work it out next week, at church. Which is where I’ll be. If God asks you, please let him know I’m going pretty regularly. Except when we’re at the beach.