The 5 Stages of Dealing with Mission Update Sunday
Like it or not, I know what’s about to happen. The smiling couple dressed in clothes they clearly bought “in country”. The slide projector. The extra offering plates. Sarah McLachlan waiting in the wings to sing “In the Arms of an Angel”.
I wish it wasn’t, but I know it is. It’s Mission Update Sunday.
There are plenty of ways to be a horrible person in church. Me? I nearly lose my salvation once a quarter.
My first instinct is to bolt for the double doors. You know, the ones in the back by the coffee? But no can do. Brother Hawkeye has already shaken my hand and given me a bulletin. I may as well be Gorilla glued to a pew.
At least it’s a pew in the back. Maybe one that’s roped off, if I’m feeling extra rebellious. This is where I begin to go through the process of facing my own sin nature via how badly I handle…
The 5 Stages of Dealing with Mission Update Sunday:
Stage 1: Dread. If dreading the virtual trip to Haiti and guilt isn’t enough, then there’s knowing the pastor still intends to preach. I can literally hear the blood clots forming in my legs. Of course, what good is MUS without the tangible proof of digital photography, but the guilt trip is a self-inflicted voyage of one.
Stage 2: Narcolepsy. Having a bad attitude makes me tired. I will begin to nod off right about the time that pictures of beautiful children in a schoolroom start to flash. I change position, open my bulletin, unwrap a butterscotch way too loudly, or any other ordained method of maintaining lucidity. My husband, however, usually ends up sending me a wake-up text that vibrates the iPhone in my hand and scares the crap out of me. If they passed out Red Bull in the communion cups at the beginning of the service, we wouldn’t be having this problem.
Stage 3: Bullet Dodging. Thank God it isn’t me. Realizing that God may have chosen these people, instead of me, makes my day a little brighter. That could be me up there wearing awful sandals and describing the ground-breaking work being done in Papua, New Guinea. I send up a concessionary prayer of thanks for AC and Chuck Taylors, hoping that God doesn’t respond by giving me a heart for Peruvian cannibals.
Stage 4: Resignation. This is going to happen whether I lose Jesus’ love or not. So I begin the head nodding that makes it look like I’m paying attention. This rapidly deteriorates into the Sunday Morning Head Bob. See Stage 2. When I do manage to keep my eyes open and not glassyish, I try to look interested with a touch of concern. But I’m pretty sure I just look constipated.
Stage 5: Cash or Check. By the time the pastor says, “Let’s bless these folks, shall we?” I am already way ahead of him. Is it because I’m so grateful to the couple and their work? Nope. The service is almost over, and I’m sitting in the back! I could be the first one out the door if I straight arm the usher with my love offering.
I love missionaries. I really, really do. But the idea that sitting through MUS might mean I actually have to do something is terrifying. See Stage 3. God bless those less cowardly than me.
Am I the only terrible person who feels this way and writes a check the size of my mortgage to ease my guilt?
Any missionaries out there I need to apologize to and could tell us your MUS stories?
For more great writing from Sharideth, check out her blog!