On Good Friday this year, I was driving down 295 to Capitol Christian Fellowship, with a pot of Moroccan cous cous in my passenger seat. For no good reason, I was going 74 miles an hour in a 55 mile an hour zone.
I got pulled over as soon as I passed a federal cop in an unmarked car. I hadn't been pulled over for anything in five years. After I got my ticket, I kept driving, but I felt terrible. I wanted to go fast, I wasn't trying to get to CCF early or anything, I just wanted to go fast, so I ignored the speed limit.
I got to CCF, where Mennonites from all the churches in the district were convening for a potluck. I mentioned that I had sped to my friend, Galen, because confessing sin is important, but I didn't feel any better.
As I ate supper, I wasn't really paying attention to what the other people at my table were saying. I was thinking about why I felt so bad. All of a sudden, I realized that I don't love Grandma.
I mean, I have nice feelings about Grandma and I'm polite to her when I see her. I don't give up much for Grandma, though. She's pretty lonely in assisted living; a visit would mean much to her. It's not like hanging out with Grandma is a wild and crazy time, but, still, it's easy for me to pop by, and I just don't, and that's how you can tell I don't love Grandma. What sort of person doesn't love his grandma? I could at least give her a call. (I think I will tomorrow.)
This scared me, because not loving Grandma is a lot worse than speeding, but I felt worse about speeding than about not loving Grandma.
I was thinking about why I felt so bad, and I figured it was because I had been confronted by an authority figure, and not because I was actually contrite.
After supper, I went into the sanctuary, and sat, alone, and prayed that God would change my heart, and that I would be more loving, like Jesus. I prayed that I would at least love Grandma more than I did then.
During the service, I was distracted by Clara. Clara is, I don't know, five years old? Clara's family was sitting right in front of me. Clara wouldn't sit still, and kept jumping from her seat with her parents across the aisle to her friend, and then back again. I was irritated with Clara because I felt terrible about speeding and not loving Grandma, and it's Good Friday, which is a good day to feel terrible about how bad we are, and I was trying to focus on God, and Clara wasn't being very reverent at all.
And then, Clara handed a piece of paper to her mom. It was a card that said, "I love you, Jesus. From Clara."