…well, maybe there was a choir director or two there as well.
Yesterday, at my beloved Calvary Baptist Church, we played host to a series of sessions that were part of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) national convention, which was held here in Washington, D.C., this year. It was a fine day devoted to worship for children, wrapped up with a workshop by a noted local youth choir director about
skills for working with young singers, particularly in a choral setting.
And, we are in middle of the worst heat wave in years here in Washington. It was 103 degrees. To my amazement, there must have been over 500 people in our sanctuary throughout the day.
Five hundred people. 103 degrees.
I didn’t know there were that many organists in the world, frankly. No offense to my organ-playing friends, but I understand that there were 2100 directors and organists registered for the conference here in Washington. Really?
Me, I was just there as a church volunteer. My simple job was to help get people in and out of the building in an orderly and safe fashion. And see that they had a program in their hands. Or so I thought.
Truth be told, my real job was to use a skill that I don’t often value in myself, but will value more after yesterday. My job was to stand there, smile, and with the most open energy that I could muster, welcome those 500 plus people to the Calvary Baptist Church.
It was an interesting exercise in faith, for me. You see, I don’t really like crowds. And I frequently find it overwhelming to deal with large groups of people (unless I’m on the stage and have a little distance for a large part of the encounter). I could never be a Bill Clinton, and plunge into an unknown sea of humanity and just start shaking hands, loving every minute of it.
But yesterday, I stood there, open, and smiling–seeing to it that I looked each and every person who came up those stairs in the eye as I said, “Good morning, so happy to see you here.”
There was nothing, really, for me or the church to gain from this exercise. Most of these people were from out of town; most of them probably employed in other churches if they were local. And, while Calvary’s reputation is important on an earthly plain, well, it’s not that important.
But I would not be the kind of disciple we try to nurture at Calvary if I did not stand there in my shoes and genuinely practice the principle of hospitality on behalf of my community. That was my job yesterday.
I hope that I did okay. There is no way to know, but, God, I did my best to walk in Your way.