Standing in the narthex of the church on the last summer day of July, Lexi shook hands with the few and the proud that had come to worship that morning. With each handshake, she heard the typical comments.
“Thanks for worship today.”
Lexi hated these comments. She wanted to know more. She wanted to know what made her sermon so “nice” or why someone would thank her for worship when it was supposed to be the work of the people. And yet, she couldn’t allow herself to get lost in these thoughts. She was greeting her church family. She was grateful to be among them.
Or at least, she wanted to be grateful to be among them. She was finding it particularly difficult this morning. She had noticed it during worship. There had been no energy in worship. There had been no sense of love or community. It had been cool — almost frozen — which was odd for 90 degree weather.
Lexi had preached the Gospel with her whole heart. She had thrown herself into the text with joy in her heart. And though she didn’t think it was a great sermon, she was still waiting for someone in the congregation to call out an “AMEN!” or at least bat an eye. This never came. They just sat there as if God’s presence had sucked the life out of them. Lexi could only wonder. Had she missed something in the prayers? Had something happened in Corinth that she had overlooked? Did she not use Jesus’ name enough during her sermon? Had she chosen the wrong hymns? What had been the disconnect that Lexi could still feel in the shaking of these hands?
Her answer came when the Head of the Deacons appeared. She was the last person out of the Sanctuary. She had a stern look in her eye, as if Lexi was going to be called into the Principal’s Office.
“Are you busy right now?” the Head Deacon asked without any inflection in her voice.
“Right now?” Lexi croaked.
“If you have time, right now would be perfect. It’s important. We need to talk.”