We need to talk about getting out the door to church on Sunday morning.
Maybe you’re one of those unicorns whose arrives in church ten minutes before the service with your children in matching clothes. You’re amazing, and this post isn’t for you.
This is for the congregants who feel like baggage porters as they stumble into church on Sunday morning. The parents heading to church while wrangling two sweaters, hand sanitizer, a piggy bank for the special offering, and a hair bow your friend’s kid left at your house last week. The Sunday School teachers with twenty printouts, two skeins of yarn, a stapler, and a box of donut holes. The children’s choir leader who needs to bring a stack of sheet music, two water bottles, a pledge envelope with a check, and a box of Kleenex. The mom who started the morning feeling praise in her heart but turned into a werewolf when she realized it was backpack blessing day and they’re on hooks back at the house.
As if it weren’t hard enough getting all the humans from your home to the right place at the right time on the Sabbath, there’s all this stuff! And if we get to church having forgotten these necessary items? Well that can set off emotions and language not considered suitable for the churchgoing type.
Allow me to propose a solution that isn’t deep or profound. It’s so obvious you might feel downright insulted at my suggestion, but here it is: get a church bag. A great big tote just for church. A dedicated bag that you can leave by the door and fill throughout the week with the things you’ll need on Sunday. A bag you can disgorge on Sunday afternoon at home as you begin to get it ready for the next week. Ideally a fabric bag, so when the faith formation bread starter craft oozes or the brownie wrapped in a napkin crumbles everywhere, cleanup is easy.
Having a capacious, oversized “church bag” has helped me be a more calm and prepared person on Sundays. It’s made me less irritated and maybe even helped me demonstrate more Christian character. As a church lady who volunteers, co-teaches the Youth Group, has three kids in Sunday School, and sometimes helps with the music, there’s a lot of stuff I end up schlepping around on the Sabbath. Before I instituted the practice of carrying a Church Bag, most of it ended up rolling around the floor of my vehicle or forgotten at home. Now I have a place for the crafts the kids make at Children’s Church, my sermon notes, a checkbook and pledge envelopes, and packets of crayons to keep hands busy during the service, and it’s not all mixed into my regular purse.
As Episcopalians, we recognize that material things help our faith and make us more like Christ.
Maybe the humble church bag can be one of those things for you.