The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


October 19, 2008

Playing Hookey

I played hookey from church this morning. With all three kids and my husband on a weekend campout, I spent the morning sleeping in late, drinking coffee and reading newspapers. From my pillow, I watched political talk shows on the laptop and ate breakfast in bed. Later on, I wheeled a week's worth of food, including a bottle of wine and a six-pack of beer, to the grocery store register at 12:01, the earliest you can buy alcohol under Texas' Sunday blue laws.

On my way back home, I thought about how different my morning had been. At this time on most Sundays, I'd be leaving my church's sanctuary and hunting for the kids. Once the pastor says the final blessing, my family always scatters. Jillian, 4, races toward the altar to touch her favorite patch of stained glass and Janine, 11, bolts for the gym. Ben, 8, disappears outside to make like Zacchaeus in the front bushes.

When my family returns home, they'll have truck full of gear, two loads of laundry and dirt beneath their nails. I'll ask the kids about their time together and, if I'm lucky, I'll hear a few highlights before they pad upstairs to reunite with the Wii.

They won't ask me what I did during my weekend alone. At their ages, questions like that don't occur to them -- and on a day such as this, I'm glad they don't. For me, skipping church is a tricky subject. In my family, I'm the catalyst when it comes to church-going. If I decided to stop, it's a good bet that the rest of my family would follow suit without much resistance. I worry that lazy Sunday mornings at home would make us forget the richness we have through the community of our church.

Which begs the question: Why did I stay at home?

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