At the beginning of my teaching career, I taught first grade for five years. I still remember some of the cute things those children said and did. One story that stands out was written by Jon-Marc Wiggins, “The Day the Chicken Poopied on My Head.”
His story was about exactly what the title says. The students laughed, other teachers laughed about it and visitors to our classroom usually got to hear this funny story. I recently found out that hearing about it happening to someone else is much funnier than when it happens to you!
My story wasn’t a chicken, and I wasn’t at home. I had parked my car, hurrying in to church and a pigeon decided to drop his load right on my head! Bangs, forehead, glasses around my neck, blouse and purse strap. I tell you, that bird was loaded!
My first instinct was to take my little whitewashed self back home and forget about church. A bizarre thought hit me out of the great beyond. “People go to church every service with much uglier and stinkier things clinging to them than bird droppings.”
I hurried into the bathroom and tried to clean myself up before church. I did the best I could, but every time someone started to shake my hand or hug me, I was afraid I reeked of bird droppings. I eventually forgot about my plight and entered into the worship portion of the service and note taking of the sermon. As soon as the service was over, however, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and head home to where I could discard my soiled and smelly clothes and clean up from head to foot.
I had the thought about how we treat people when they come to church all smell and befouled, and I’m not referring to bird droppings. Church is meant to be a place for spiritual growth and maturity to take place, but even more important than that, it is a Salvation Station, a Lighthouse in the midst of life’s storms, a Holy Ghost Hospital for the sick of mind and spirit.
I think my church is comprised of a very loving bunch of people who reach out to the wounded, the needy, and those walking in darkness. But what is our first response to the smelly, stinky, sin sick people we meet on a daily basis? To the prostitutes, the drug addicts, the alcoholics, the lost and dying unlovelies of humanity, how do we project the love of Christ?
It is sometimes difficult for us, when we try so hard to live right and do right, to realize that the love of God extends to ALL who will accept it, no matter how nasty or sin-ridden their lives might be.
There is a Bible verse that speaks of man’s righteousness being as filthy rag… basically, that means that if we were to stand before God under our own goodness, we would all be covered in bird droppings and worse. We are cleaned up, washed up, and changed by accepting the gift of Christ’s love for us and allowing Him to live through us.
I may not remember the sermon topic of that evening for years to come, but the sermon the pigeon taught me when he poopied on my head, just like Jon-Marc’s story, will stay with me for a very long time.