I went to Dave’s church on Sunday. We had agreed that we would do that showing-up-at-each-other’s churches thing this summer and, what with the ECUSA making dumb choices and Pastor C making dumb choices, well, I hadn’t shown up at his church yet. So, I went.
Church was fine, minus the hardcore Pentecostal guy who gave the sermon and said a bunch of stuff that half the people in the room loved but that made the other half want to sidle out the back door quietly. We did the evangelical version of contemplative prayer (thanks, Jess, for the insights there!), and we left.
On our way out, someone invited us to lunch. I didn’t think much of it. I knew that I had met the people before, but I’ve met most of Dave’s church before and I still don’t recognize them. Dave jogged my memory and I had lunch with Richard and Toni. Food was good. Conversation was a little disappointing and a little embarrassing. Disappointing because this couple, particularly Toni, have invested themselves in…well, in Dave and the other people who were undergrads when he was. And embarrassing because over half an hour of the conversation was about movies I haven’t seen.
“What about (insert movie starring Will Ferrel, David Spade, or someone whose name I don’t even know here?”
“Nope, haven’t seen it.”
“Oh, and then there was (other movie starring same people)!”
“Haven’t seen that either.”
Seriously, I thought I got out more.
Anyway, on the way out, Toni handed Dave an envelope that clearly had a card in it. I wondered why, later, to Dave, and he said that they had been part of a group that prayed together during a recent service, and some meaningful stuff had happened, and Toni likes to follow up on things like that. I didn’t think much about it, hung out with Dave for a little while, and went home.
Later, when I was on the phone with Dave, I wondered aloud what was in the envelope. He had forgotten all about it. It was in his pants pocket. His pants were upstairs on his bed. He would read it later.
So I forgot about it.
Fast forward to today. I call Dave over lunch. He tells me he has a surprise, but won’t tell me what it is. I give him quite a hard time about ruining my afternoon by making me wonder what in the world is going on.
After work, I pick up dinner and take it to him. We eat, he excuses himself, and goes to his car. He comes back with the envelope. I open it. It’s clear that there’s a card and a check in it. Being a good adult sort of person, I read the card first. I don’t expect too much, because the picture is cheesy and the color scheme odd. However, it is simply one of the BEST cards I’ve ever read, all about what it means to be God’s child, what it means to be loved and held and cared for by him.
Finally, I opened the check. I think my eyes bugged out of my head. I know that I opened and closed it several times.
HOW MANY ZEROES WERE THERE TO THE RIGHT OF THE ‘1’ AND THE LEFT OF THE ‘.’?!!??
Oh, right. 3. Someone wrote Dave a $1,000 check out of the blue. Without knowing much of his (and our!) current situation.
Oh, and the prayer part of it all (no, this post is not over yet…you thought you could get away…). A week or so ago, I overheard someone talking about a huge project they were working on, where people have donated literally millions of dollars. Their comment was, “We never raised money. People just heard about the project and wrote checks. Every time we tried to raise money, God stopped it.” I thought, “Wow…there really is money like that out there.”
Since then, I’ve been praying something like, “God, I know that there’s money out there. And we don’t have much of it, and we need some. And I don’t know why anyone would give it to us, but I pray that some of it would make it our way.”
It was one of those prayers that come with two thoughts. The first was, “Well, it can’t hurt anything to pray this way.” The second was, “Um, God, I know that’s a really weird request, so you don’t have to answer it. I mean, I won’t stop believing in you or anything, and I’m really not expecting it, because Dave and I are healthy, strong adults and we can get jobs and earn money and we’re not out there doing anything major for you with this money, and we’re not going to put it all towards some big God project, so I really understand if nothing comes in.”
Um, right, Sarah. I’m not quite sure what to say now, beyond a combination of, “Thank you, Jesus!!!” and, “If you didn’t mind keeping it coming…”