Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on Todd’s website, The Sainthood Project.
I don’t know if your Church or ministry runs a bingo program to raise money for various things.
I don’t know what your personal feelings are about bingo.
The following is completely true.
I was working at a parish later in the afternoon in which the office I was working was attached to the elementary school that the parish runs. That evening, bingo was to start at 7.30 pm, and it was 4.30 when I noticed two in the hallway that seemed to be struggling with the weight of their bags and a moral dilemma.
Since I enjoy helping, I went into the hallway and asked if there was something I could do. They seemed distressed as there was a sign on the parish hall doors that said, “No bingo admittance until 6pm.” In their bags I saw cards, markers good luck charms, and a small car.
They said that the sign was new and they didn’t know what to do. I asked if they ran bingo and if they came to set up. They looked at me like I was from Area 51.
“We’re here to play.”
I calmly suggested perhaps they go to an early dinner at the local diner and come back in an hour and a half when the doors were open. After all, bingo didn’t start for another three hours.
“We have to practice!”
I was surprised at this. Practice for three hours before bingo started? I didn’t know there was a set skill set that was involved that needed to be exercised.
“You OBVIOUSLY don’t play BINGO.”
I should have kept my suggestions to myself. The sweetness dropped away as soon as one of the staff members left the parish hall and the the gates were opened to bingo room. The two women embraced the spirit of Usain Bolt and sprinted, carrying the baggage of the world into the hall and had set up at the table in a matter of seconds. Having witnessed my first real miracle, I left the women to practice for the next three hours as I left for the car.
That got me thinking.
Is there anything else that we show up to church three hours ahead of time for?
Can you imagine if someone showed up to Mass three hours ahead of time and became absolutely aggressive and indignant when someone suggested they might have their perspective a little out of whack?
What if we showed up three hours early to practice singing, reading the readings for the day, praying, going to Reconciliation? What if someone asked why we were at church so early and we simply responded:
“I’m here to PRAY.”
If they suggested we go eat breakfast or if we simply take our time before showing up we shot back:
“I have to practice. I have to be READY.”
If they suggested that we seemed to be taking Church, God, Mass, a little to seriously we replied:
“You OBVIOUSLY don’t pray the MASS.”
Just a thought on our priorities when it comes to Church.