“Sunday? I can’t be here this Sunday - unless we sing really early in the service. But we probably wouldn’t sing early enough,” Sissy babbled.
“Well how early must you leave? We could move the anthem up to first thing, would that work?” Kate offered.
“Well, yeah, I guess, but could we all be here first thing?” Sissy asked.
Five sets of eyes turned toward Rena. “I can manage it," she agreed.
Rena was torn between feeling like they were harmlessly teasing her, and feeling guilty because she was always late. Her normal routine was to fly in at the last minute, throw her coat on a hanger and jump into her choir gown as she raced up the stairs. But, she hadn’t missed yet.
“Then that’s what we’ll do,” Kate said. “That way we’ll have a full choir.”
They worked hard for the rest of the rehearsal, perfecting Sunday’s anthem. Sissy was happy that she’d be able to sing after all, but it just didn’t sit right with Rena.
Rena didn’t mind changing the order of things, that wasn’t it. It was the underlying reason. Sissy had to leave - during worship service, on a Sunday - to sell trinkets at some kiosk so that she could make a few bucks. Some people honestly had to work on Sundays, like nurses. Now that was a real job. Not selling stuff. Yet everybody wanted to bend over backward for Sissy.
Where were people’s values?
Thursday, Friday and Saturday passed by in a blur. Rena packed too much into her days, stayed up later than she should have each evening and woke up tired on Sunday morning. She hit the snooze button once, twice,- ah, but then she got up. Even though she didn’t agree with the reason, she would not be late this Sunday morning. She arrived at church a full five minutes early.
In the Narthex, Wendy Marshall greeted her happily. “Hey, how’s Michael doing at college? We really miss him in the youth group.”
“Oh, thanks for asking! That boy is just going and going. He’s the captain of...”
“Rena, do I hear your voice?” Sissy was peeking up the stairs. “You need to get down here right away. Did you forget? We’re singing first thing!”
Well, of all the misplaced, self-righteous nerve, Rena glowered to herself.
“No, I didn’t forget, why do you think I’m here now?” She could be simple when the circumstances called for it.
“Well, hurry up, you still need to get your gown on,” Sissy persisted.
“I’d be doing just that if I wasn’t debating with you,” Rena was pushing the limits and she didn’t care.
“Don’t you go blaming me,” the smile disappeared from Sissy’s face and it didn’t come back.
The anthem was beautiful. The words told how in this church we are brothers and sisters and we are blessed by our connections of love and understanding. Kate sure knew how to pick great music.
Once the anthem was over, Rena begrudgingly made way for Sissy to leave the choir loft. She watched in disapproval as Sissy went off to her ridiculous job.
Rena sat there all smug, knowing that she chose the right way. Why anybody willingly would work on a Sunday just had to mean one thing. They were money-hungry. Money was their god. Why Sissy should learn to live on less, or change jobs. It was as simple as that.
Phrases from the anthem played over in her mind. “We love as a family.” “We choose to understand.”
Rena tried to concentrate on the sermon - that’s why she was in church after all. It was a struggle though, and her mind kept wandering to her job at the hospital. A strange question came out of nowhere.
Did she really have to work those assigned Sundays?
Well, maybe not, but finding another job she was suited for would be really hard. She might not get paid as much, and then how would she help with Michael’s education costs?
The log in her eye slammed into her brain.
No! It couldn’t be true. And yet... in that moment she knew she was no better than Sissy.
“Oh, Lord,” Rena cried. “I know what I need to do, you don’t have to clobber me twice, but I have to tell You that if I keep having to remove these logs, there will soon be nothing left of me!”
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