Posts Tagged ‘witnessing a miracle’

(A true story…in a manner of speaking.)

I am an usher for our church. When I was asked to pass the collection plate each Sunday, I was both honored and bothered. It was pretty cool that the powers-that-be thought I was worthy to represent the body in this way and even better yet that they trusted me with the cash!

But honestly, I was troubled that they believed that ushering was the extent of my abilities: pass it down the aisle, fold my hands in front of me like you do when you’re on line at a wake…a little pious, a little humble. I pridefully resented that they figured this was the extent of my skill set.

After the first Sunday, I went home feeling alright about it. But by the end of the first year, I subtly began to envy the guy that preached the great sermon and the musician who hit notes somewhere near the ceiling and that associate pastor who prayed after church and got to see all of these healings.

An usher doesn’t get to see miracles.

All I had to do was pick up the empty gold-rimmed plate and pass it around the church. At the end of the collection, the money would be counted and deposited in the local bank. No surprise ending here.

As time went on, I realized that it was actually a privilege to pass the plate. I began to take more seriously the sheepish look of some of the congregants. My eyes would dart away to avoid embarrassing their lack of participation in my endeavors. Oh yeah, that was the guy who got laid off the other month. I had heard about him at the men’s meeting on Saturday morning.

And there was the middle-aged woman with the two adult children. I knew they weren’t weighing down the kitty as it passed through their hands. Her husband had left years ago and their tithe didn’t amount to much – and that was their combined total, at that.

Sunday after Sunday, I witnessed more life. My hands were still altar-boy-folded, but my heart was opening wider every week. For example, there was the time when I noticed two wrinkled hands folding a check to put in the collection. There was some hesitation, but the older woman’s determination earned a victory over her ambivalence. Ah yes, she was the one who just last month lost her husband of 58 years and the retirement benefit that went with his passing. Instinctively, my pious hands unfolded and I reached out to touch her quivering palms. She looked up  with an appreciative nod. I found that I wasn’t one bit apprehensive that her row saw my glistening eyes.

She wasn’t the only one struggling. The economy was weakening and so was the church budget and the “guy” who gave those great sermons was beginning to get concerned if the church could keep operating in its present fashion. It’s funny that he’s my first “customer” every Sunday because he sits in the first row. I imagined it was a stretch of faith to look into that empty plate as it passed from my hands into his every week. But each week, he would drop his envelope into it and the plate was no longer empty.

Then there was the Sunday when I had the week off and I decided to sit in the back of the church. This time, it was my turn to put money in the offering. I can’t explain it. Sunday after Sunday, I had never noticed it before. But there in the last row of the church and right under my nose, the plate was overflowing. What started as empty was now full to the brim.

It was there that I realized that ushers get to see miracles.












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