My church moved locations this week. We’ve been meeting for eight years or so at an old movie palace from the 1920s, so it’s sad to leave (and even sadder that the landlord made everyone leave because he wants to redevelop the space for condos)
But having said that, we do have a new place to go to so all is not lost. It’s not even very far, just down the block, so no reason to panic. But this past Sunday was our last Sunday in our old space and I happened to be up to run slides.
Because it’s our last day, they’ve come up with an idea - we’re supposed to write little things on post it notes and place them around the church (though I feel bad for the people who have to go around and take them down).
And reflecting on the years, not only the ones in this location, but the years overall at this church, I wonder what I should write down.
Not only have I been with the church practically from the beginning, but I signed up to run slides pretty early on. I may be one of the last originals to do them. We’ve evolved from swapping a laptop with the slides on them from one slide runner to the next, like a religious nuclear football, to spending weekend trying to create the slides and sending panicked texts to the service manager when it’s not possible to create the slide that the pastor wants, to now simply showing up on Sunday morning and pressing the button to advance to the next slide (that might also give you some insight into how our church budget has grown.)
And I realize that one thing being a slider runner has taught me for all these years is not to sweat the small stuff. When I first had the slides gig, I would spazz out and get upset every time I messed up and advanced a song lyric when it wasn’t time, or when it was late, or whatever. Because I had to be PERFECT! Everything had to be PERFECT!
But after a good 7 or 8 years of doing this, I realized that nobody’s really going to yell at you, and that in the grand scheme of things, messing up the timing of a slide lyric or a sermon lyric isn’t really that big of a deal.
That sentence makes me sound like I was a buffoon with the slide duty. And that’s not the case at all, because I’m pretty sure they would’ve encouraged me to try something else if I was completely awful, like clean toilets. It’s hard to mess up cleaning a toilet.
But no, I have stayed a slide runner for all the times, even though I can’t remember a time where I ran the slides flawlessly. It’s impossible, since the worship band leader has a propensity for going off book, singing choruses acapaella, or flitting back and forth between songs for dramatic effect, and la la laaaaa.
Doing slides at church taught me, more than anything else, that I will probably never be perfect. At running slides, at my job, at life. But God loves me even though I never will be perfect. It’s a lesson I still haven’t wrapped my head around, and will probably take me the rest of my life to do so. But I’ll keep trying. At running slides, at my job, at life, at trying to know who God is.
So I write this down and stick it near the computer.
And I run the slides for the services. And yes, I screw up maybe one or twice. Or more, heh. But when the services are over, I say bye to the production staff. I walk around this beautiful space one last time. And I head out onto Hollywood Blvd., where the streets are positively teeming with imperfect people.
I’ll be doing slides at the new location in a few weeks. And I’m sure I won’t be perfect there. But I’ll do my best to try to be okay with that. Because God is.