"When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor…" - Luke 14:8
At a recent Interfaith Worker Justice board meeting, Naeem Baig, President of the Islamic Circle of North America, shared a story about a scene he witnessed on an airplane. A mother was traveling with three small children but for some reason, none of them were seated together. So the mother asked other passengers if they would move so she could stay close to her little ones.
Everyone agreed to move, except for one woman who seemed able to move, but was just unwilling. By way of explanation she added her reason: "You see, I'm comfortable in my seat."
The story caused all of us to stop and imagine that awkward scene in silence. To me, the point was painfully clear. Sometimes we don't do the right thing for the most mundane of reasons. We're comfortable in our seats.
That woman who was so comfortable in her seat may not have been as comfortable later on in the flight. I imagine her seated next to a toddler, crying for his mother, loudly, interrupting her movie. Or maybe the kid was rejoicing in his new found freedom, far from parental supervision, giddily tipping his soda into the woman's lap. How comfortable was her seat then?
We don't want to move because we don't feel the pain. Why give up a comfy seat for one that could possibly be worse? Why change things? Why shake things up?
But here's the thing. Change happens anyway. God seems to like it that way.
Jesus, thank you for giving up your comfortable seat in heaven to join us here on earth, and for revealing God's ever-flexible seating arrangements. Amen.
Lillian Daniel's new book Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don't Belong To: Spirituality without Stereotypes, Religion without Ranting is now available for purchase, but you can hear it all for free at 1st Congregational Church of Dubuque, Iowa.