I attended the Maundy Thursday service at our church today. Seth and I arrived early since he was playing the piano, so I took my seat in the sanctuary, awaiting the service. The seats were empty. Not many people had arrived yet. So I chose a seat off to the side by myself. Head down, reading the program, I was hoping that no one would come to sit beside me. I was enjoying sitting alone, and I hoped it would stay that way. I didn't feel that I needed any company. I wasn't in the mood for small talk. I'm no good at it anyway.
Ten minutes before starting time, I heard commotion behind me. Well hey Amber! Great, I'm gonna have to talk. I turned around and saw Sam and Toni. I don't know Sam and Toni very well. But I remember that they joined the church not too long after we did. Hard to miss. Sam always looks like he's just stepped off of a fishing canoe. Toni looks like the quintessential Texan woman meets Pocahontas. Her hair is actually black with frosted silver highlights. But it's huge, so that counts for Texan. Huge hair, dark skin, lots of make up, swishy skirts, likes to talk. We chatted. It was fine.
Somehow we started talking about Toni's friend who is a Hindu. Toni has invited her to church and prays for her friend. Her prayers are big prayers that take alot of faith to pray, and they've been answered. She wants her friend to know that if she prays to her God, that He'll hear and answer. So now her Hindu friend says she'll come to church.
Then Toni told me about how she came to know Christ. She was already married to Sam. Sam said that after Toni became a Christian she left him for Jesus. Sam said he got jealous of Jesus. But it was OK because it brought him to the Lord, too. And then Toni said that before she was a Christian she was mean and hateful, and a couch potato. But afterwards, she was still a couch potato, just a couch potato with a Bible. And she would sit on the couch and read the Bible and weep. "Because God...he weeps, ya know." Is what she said to me.
And I was worried about small talk.
The service began. Dramatic readings. Scripture. String quartet. Seth at the piano. It was meaningful. It was moving.
Then we prayed.
And for no reason, Toni reached from behind me during the prayer and put her hand on my arm. It startled me a bit at first, and then...tears.
I'm not sure why. I thought I wanted to be alone. Maybe I didn't. But it felt like Jesus was touching my arm, and I moved my hand over hers and wondered if this is how Carol feels when I hug her goodbye.