Some of you remember the old Saturday Night Live show skit about the Church Lady. The Church Lady had a sour expression, a sour disposition and a sour outlook on life. It is the image many think about when they think about church. This image has made many run screaming away from Church and from the life of faith. I don't think the Church Lady image has been a positive influence on the world and I don't think the image is or ever has been Biblical. Enter Ginny (name changed to protect the saintly) ...
Ginny was the picture in the dictionary beside the words "Church Lady." When I met her I have to admit a bias of fear, distance and just plain aversion to what and who I thought she was. She walked stiffly and she was a dyed in the wool Methodist, totally tied to the structures, meetings, calendars, etc. I decided that I would give Ginny a wide berth and get along without having any relational connection. That lasted about a week.
I was asked by the Senior Pastor to work with Ginny on a project. Since I was new, and the low man on the totem pole, I couldn't say "No ... I don't want to work with her because I really don't like her." I bit the bullet and went to Ginny's office. We talked and shared our vision of the project along with another co-worker. Ginny and the co-worker got into a slight disagreement about proceeding forward and the discussion ended in a bet that whoever was wrong would have to wear a cheerleader uniform to church. Every staff member was betting for Ginny to lose. And she did!
The following Sunday the very staunch and structured Ginny walked into church in a cheerleader uniform, complete with pom poms. Everyone reeled with laughter including Ginny. Then it became clear to me. She was different than I ever imagined. Instead of the stiff-lipped Church Lady I began to see a very structured woman who had the ability to have joy in every circumstance. When I read Philippians 3 ("rejoice in the Lord always") I equate Paul's staunchness and joy with that of the sweet and sour Ginny. I learned a lot from Ginny and she changed my way of seeing other people. Now she rests with the saints in heaven, probably still in that cheerleader uniform, part of the great cloud of witnesses welcoming souls into heaven. I can't wait to see her again! Randy