Following where nudges lead

Thank goodness the Holy Spirit sometimes leads us to do the right thing, even if it’s for the wrong reason.

Take, for instance, my decision to become an Episcopalian. Some of you may have heard me tell the story. It happened the first year I was away at college.

My first few weeks away from home, I dutifully got up every Sunday morning and drove across town to go to church. That’s what I was raised to do. Skipping church was never an option when I was growing up.

My route took me past a strikingly beautiful church. I thought it was the most perfect church I had ever seen, with an exterior of river rock, a stately bell tower, stained glass windows, Tudor siding and bright red doors. It looked like something right out of medieval England.

It was an Episcopal church. I knew nothing about Episcopalians. But the church was just so pretty outside, I wondered what it looked like inside. I wanted to stop and take a look, but week after week I drove right on past, too shy to investigate further.

Then, one Sunday, I did. I just wanted to take a peek, then leave. As I walked in, I was awestruck. It was breathtaking. As I stood there gawking, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned, and there was Martha, one of the sisters from the sorority I had pledged a few weeks earlier. “Hey, what are you doing here?” she asked. “I didn’t know you were an Episcopalian.”

“I’m not,” I started to say, “I just …”

“Well come on over and sit with us,” she said, pointing to a pew on the other side of the nave. I looked, and there sat five or six Delta Zetas. I happily joined them. They showed me how to use the Prayer Book, when to sit, when to stand and when to kneel. I was thoroughly confused, and didn’t know ANY of the hymns. But I enjoyed myself. And after church, we all went out to lunch together. That became our weekly routine, and I never went back to that other church.

This week, I’m taking a few days off to head out of town. I’m going back for a sorority reunion. We’ve rented a cabin on a lake near Roanoke, Va. And some of the girls who were sitting in that pew that day will be there. On Sunday morning, we’re all going to be worshiping together again for the first time in a very long time.

Somehow, I think the Holy Spirit will be smiling.