Thursday, August 16, 2018

It's Me, It's Me, O Lord, Who Needs To Give Up My Seat

We were looking for a church in the city in which we lived. We settled on a large "First Church" for that particular Sunday. Piano, organ, and a small worship orchestra led the large choir and music filled the air where over a thousand were seated. I was seated on the last seat on the row, my wife beside me. There was one empty seat in our section immediately in front of me. To the right of it were two older ladies who appeared well-to-do. One of them was wearing a fur jacket.

Movement caught my eye. A woman, late middle-aged, came to the open seat. She was not well-to-do. She was thin, wearing a worn, sky blue polyester pant suit. Her purse was worn, too. I could smell her. She had the odor people have when they live on the streets and don't get but one or two showers a week at the shelter

She motioned to the empty seat in front of us, asking the well-to-do lady in fur if it was available. Either in surprise or fear, she turned wide-eyed to look at her well-to-do friend, and then looked back at the thin woman. I heard her say, "It's taken. My husband is coming to sit there." The lady turned around and walked toward the back, presumably looking for another seat. The well-to-do ladies exchanged knowing glances. Her husband never did come and sit there.

Every time I tell that story people are appalled at the reaction of the well-to-do ladies. It was appalling. How could they conspire to deny her a seat because she was not like them when Christ offered them a place in eternity in spite of their great difference from him? But, something troubles me. It's not the well-to-do who trouble me. It's me.

My wife and I were sitting on the end of the row. There was no extra seat beside us, but there was a seat available. That seat was mine.

Why did I not get up and give her my seat?