Time in church meant for focusing on message

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

Once I got in trouble for talking during the Sunday morning service.

I was sitting in the balcony of the old church at 8th and Hinkle. The church was packed that day but the Lord and worshipping Him was the last thing on my mind that Sunday morning. I had just gotten braces on my teeth the week before and I was eager to show them off to my friends.

So when Daddy got up to preach I viewed the huge crowd and the packed pews and thought that I would take the time to show off my braces to my friends. I figured Daddy would not notice because he would be preaching. Mother was sitting in her usual place in the foyer because she greeted the visitors so I didn’t have to worry about her watchful eye to see if I behaved.

Daddy read a scripture and after he had finished with reading the text for the day, I nudged my friends on both sides of me. I grinned big to show them my full set of braces. I tilted my head back, opened my mouth and let them view the shinny caps and wires. I showed them the rubber bands and pointed with my finger to interesting things in the back of my mouth. I stuck out my tongue so they could see the back of my mouth. I went through the entire braces process I had experienced at the dentist office the week before — from impressions to cement to caps to wires. My friends on both sides sat and listened to the details, all the while wanting braces on their own teeth. I was so proud to have braces and talked the whole length of the sermon, explaining, showing off and doing my mouth just right so they could get the full benefit of a new set of braces.

My reasoning was that Daddy would be busy preaching and he would have no clue what I was doing. I was just one in a huge crowd I thought and I would be unnoticed. Anyway, Mother couldn’t see me so I was safe.

But I was surprised when I got home. We sat down to eat Sunday dinner and the first thing Daddy said to me after the blessing was, “How did your friends like your new braces?” I stopped eating … he had seen me … he had noticed my talking! The best laid plans on my part had failed.

Then Mother said: “Judy, you need to be careful. People come to church but not to hear about your braces. More important, you may have been a distraction for someone else. That is the Lord’s time. You need to remember that. ” That is all they said and I felt terrible.

Well today my teeth are straight thanks to the monetary sacrifice of mother and daddy. Yet, I learned a valuable lesson that day I showed off my braces in church. I may be a stumbling block to someone else.

That day I was a distraction in church. But we can be a distraction in our daily lives as well. We can get so caught up in promoting self that we may cause a friend to stumble. Someone may be watching and we may be a distraction due to how we live our lives. We don’t want to get in the way of the bigger picture… the Christ we serve. We should be modeling His message.

That experience in church taught me to keep my mouth shut but most important, keep my mind on the message.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: