Last week (and all week) a commercial truck was parked in our church parking lot. We don't mind during the week...we have plenty of space. But on Sundays (including last Sunday) we often not only see every parking space filled, but we park along the street and anywhere we can put a car. (That's a great problem to have at church, by the way.)
But the company owning the truck didn't ask if they could park it there. It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. And they didn't move it for Sunday. I called the number on the side of the truck and left a message on Saturday. "Just wondering if you were going to move the truck before Sunday morning?" But, it was Saturday and their office was closed. So, I didn't really expect a reply.
And I didn't get one.
There was some talk among a few at church on Sunday about having the truck towed. It seems the owner of the company doesn't have the best reputation in the community. But I said, "No. I'll talk to them tomorrow. It's OK for now."
My office window faces the place where the truck was parked, and on Monday morning I saw a guy open the truck door and prepare to drive off. So, I went out to meet him. I explained that we didn't mind him parking here during the week, but we needed the space on Sundays.
He apologized and said the truck wouldn't be back. The driver lives in the neighborhood, by the way.
Tuesday afternoon, while working on Sunday's sermon, I looked up to see another truck (same company) parking in the same space. Since I had told him it was OK during the week I thought nothing of it. But, after parking it I saw him coming to the office door, so I got up to meet him there.
"My wife has been transported by ambulance to a hospital. Is it OK if I leave the truck here for a couple days? I'm on my way there now."
I had heard the page (I carry a fire/ems pager) to transport her earlier. So, I knew she was pretty sick.
"Of course. Park it here. What's your wife's name? Can I pray for her?" He shared her name and his as well and thanked me for the prayers.
It got me thinking about grace. Had we had the truck towed, or even told them not to park it there I somehow think Christ would have been not only absent, but ashamed. Instead, He saw to it that we get to minister to this man. Who knows what might come of it?
Grace is far better than law. Law was on our side, had we towed the truck or put up a sign, "Church Parking Only!". But grace says something far greater, doesn't it?
This recovering fundamentalist is still learning.