Life was not going very well. He left his recently emptied home Monday morning for his commute to work. The sign in the front of the church building near his neighborhood read, “Come here for a blessing.” He rolled his eyes.
Monday was bad. Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, he saw the sign again: “Come here for a blessing.” Tuesday at work was worse. Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, the sign derided him: “Come here for a blessing.”
Somehow Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were even worse than Tuesday. And the echoes in the empty house seemed to laugh at him. By Thursday, when he saw the phrase, “Come here for a blessing,” he was ready for a blessing.
So, Sunday morning, he found himself pulling his sedan into the parking lot. The attendants flagged him through the parking lot and into a space. The man at the door smiled and handed him a folded piece of paper. As he was going to say something to the man, the man turned toward the family behind him to hand them some folded pieces of paper.
As he paused inside the door, he marveled at the hive of activity that he found. The family behind him pushed past and found a pew. He sat beside them by the aisle. The husband of the family nodded, then turned toward his folded piece of paper. So, he looked at his paper, too. At the top of the paper were the words, “The Blessing of God.”
Good. He needed a blessing.
Soon the music started. The band leader told everyone to stand and sing and be blessed by God. So, he stood and tried to follow the words on the big projector screen. Everyone seemed very excited. The words seemed strange to him. But, he tried to sing along, because he wanted to be blessed by God.
They began to pass big metal plates across the pews. The man at the front said that those who gave money would be blessed. So, he reached in his wallet to get some money. He really wanted to be blessed, so he thought twice and gave a little more.
Someone began to give a speech about being blessed by God. Some of the words were strange, like in the songs. But he understood that Jesus and God wanted to bless him. That’s good, because he wanted them to bless him. He needed them to bless him. He repeated the prayer at the end of the speech. He craved a blessing from God.
Then, everyone was leaving. He turned to the husband of the family. The husband shook his hand, and said, “It’s great to meet you.” As he was preparing to ask about being blessed by God, the family made their way past him and out the door. He stood there for a moment and a few people nodded at him. One man shook his hand.
Slowly he made his way back out the door and to his car. He drove back home. He did everything they asked. He went to church. He sang the songs. He gave his money. He listened to the speech. He said the prayer. Was he blessed?
He cried himself to sleep that night in his empty bed.
The next morning, the sign in front of the church building read, “Come here for a new life.” He wondered if that was a lie too.