I skipped Sunday School class at 8:30 today. When I showed up for the 10:00 service, some of my fellow classmates thought I forgot to change my clock, but I hadn't.
I'm getting a cold. It started Friday night just enough to make me take a Sudafed before I went to my friend's son's house to play Settlers of Catan (which I didn't win, as usual). The Sudafed kept my nose under control, but then my cold moved to my throat and hurt enough yesterday that I checked my tonsils by looking in the mirror and by feeling them from the outside, but the size was normal. By last night, my cold was settling into my nose more and moving to my lungs, with the scratchy throat as the extra bonus.
So I didn't sleep well last night. That added to the time change and my extra-long time journalling from my Bible reading which kept me up later than usual, and I just couldn't bring myself to get up in time for Sunday School.
At church, I had to warn my friends about my incipient pestilence before they could hug me, along the lines of lepers shouting, "Unclean!" So I got a bunch of air-hugs this week, which is fine, because it's the thought that counts.
During the service, we got to see the Evangelism Linebacker video. That was fun. And I caught a whiff of somebody's perfume every now and then. It was the same scent I smelled many years ago when I visited the women's restroom at Scripps Aquarium in La Jolla and they perfumed the restroom to make it smell better. I think they officially call it "vanilla," but it doesn't quite have the right combination to make it really smell like vanilla. Instead, it smells exactly like Play-Doh. Whichever poor woman was wearing it today probaly has no idea.
Because of my scratchy throat, I sang with the men for most of the songs, and our minister preached about the conversion of Saul on the Damascus Road (kind of like Jesus as the Evangelism Linebacker to Saul), and then he told the story of John Newton and his conversion to Christianity. And as our minister talked, I remembered one of my favorite parts of the movie, Amazing Grace (which I watched again last week on a big-screen TV when I was dog-sitting for friends), when John Newton says, "Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly. I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great Savior." The thought brought tears to my eyes and made it hard to sing (of course) Amazing Grace, Chris Tomlin's version.
There are times, like this morning, when I'm tempted to skip church altogether and just stay under the covers in bed. But each time I refuse to give in, like this morning, I'm glad I refused. Not because anything incredible happened, but just because it feels good. I described it this way back in 2006, when I was preparing for a trip to Poland:
[N]early every church [that I visited in Poland when I was there in 1997] had a Bible verse painted or mounted on the front wall. My favorite front-wall verse (because I could both pronounce it and figure out what it meant) was this one:
Lecz moim, śćeśćem być blisko Boga. (I probably didn't spell that "s" word right because there are multiple ways to spell the same sounds, and I'm working from memory.) It means, "But for me, it is good to be near God."
In September when I go to Poland, it will also be good to be near the people of God.