What’s wrong with the World? I am.

Once an editor sent a letter soliciting an essay from G.K. Chesterton on the topic ‘What’s Wrong With The World’. The editor was shocked when he opened the mail which contained the essay because all it said was…

I am.

Yours truly,
G.K. Chesterton.

The editor had to read it twice before he understood that what G.K. Chesterton meant as the answer was ‘There is nothing wrong with the world, it is just that I am wrong with the world’. I had a similar experience at St. John’s Divine Episcopal Church at Houston this Sunday morning, the experience wasn’t as profound as to be worthy of G.K. Chesterton’s quote. I just find the analogy a funny one.

I woke up at 7:00 am on Sunday and got ready to go to 8:45 AM service at St. John Divine Church. I started in my bike which at about 8:20, the roads were unusually vacant. I was at SJD sharp at 8:45 but I found very few cars. “What’s wrong here” I was thinking, “don’t people come to Church in time?” I entered the main Church there was not even a single usher. What is wrong with the ushers aren’t they supposed to be here. I went into the church to find the pews empty, not a soul in the Church. Now I was confused.

I went out there was a lady walking by, I asked her if there wasn’t’ supposed to be a service there at 8:45 AM. “Yes there is” she said. “But the Church is empty” I replied. “Oh, we shifted back an hour, there is a service which starts at 7:45 AM in the chapel, you may come there” she replied and walked off. I was thinking to myself, What on earth did she mean when she said ‘we shifted back an hour’. I can shift something that is humanly tangible, I can shift the venue of a meeting, I can shift my house. How can I shift time? Even God hasn’t performed that miracle for more than two and a half millennia. I though to myself, “What is wrong with her”

I looked at my watch it was almost 9:00 AM. So I was late to the 7:45 AM service by over an hour. I thought that I would be in time for communion at least. I entered the chapel and the lessons were being read. I thought again, “What is wrong with this service, isn’t the service supposed to have the lessons at the beginning much before the communion?”. I was baffled and thought that may be there was a problem in the main church and so they shifted the service to the chapel. But still the chapel was too small and there were very few people. Even if the venue had been shifted shouldn’t the folks that come regularly have come? What is wrong with these regular Church folks? Did they all decide to come to the 11:00 AM service? What is wrong with them? Or was there an important football game? The service was over and as I was coming out, a genial old man came up patted me on my shoulder and told me nice to see you young man. It then occurred to me there I was the youngest guy there. Why aren’t there any young people here? What is wrong with the young people, don’t they come to Church anymore? By then it was about 10:00 AM in my watch.

I went to the main Church building, where as per the Church bulletin, a Bible Study was to begin at 10:00 AM, but to my utter confusion there were ushers giving pew sheets for the 8:45 service. “What is wrong with this Church today?” I was thinking.
So I went to one of the ushers and asked him, “Isn’t there supposed to be a Bible study here?”
He said, “Yes, it is at 10:00”.
I replied “Yes, but then why is there a service now?”.
“This is the 8:45 service” he said.
I replied “But shouldn’t there by be the Bible study here now?”

He as visibly confused as what I was trying to ask. And I was thinking so “What is wrong with this guy?” I really did not know what to ask him next, he really did not know what to tell me. I was wondering. “I just don’t get it, What is wrong with the world today?”

Then I heard a familiar voice calling me “Emmanuel” from behind I turned and there was Dana and Don who always have the knack of finding me when I am lost in Church and making me feel at home. I asked Don “I was thinking there supposed to be a Bible study now at 10:00 here, but why is there the service now instead of the Bible study?” Don thought for a moment and had a hearty laugh and said “Dude you didn’t set your watch back by an hour”. Then it occurred to me that it was Day light savings time shift when all clocks all over the US would be shifted back by an hour I forgot to set my watch back by an hour.

I had been at Church at 7:45 but my watch was wrongly pointing at 8:45 am. So I was attending the 7:45 service thinking it was the 8:45 service. There was nothing wrong with the woman who said ‘we shifted back an hour’. There was nothing wrong with the reading of lessons in the 7:45 service. There was nothing wrong with me being the youngest guy at the 7:45 service, the young guys come to the 8:45 service. There was nothing wrong with the usher whom I had confused by my questions. There was nothing wrong with the world. It was just that I was wrong with the world.

Nevertheless to do my best to rectify my mistake, I attended the 8:45 service which I had originally intended to attend. And then I attended the Bible study at 10:00 it went on till 11:00 and till 11:30 I was at the contemporary service, by then I had had 3:30 hours of nonstop church activity. I decided to take a break. I sat with my laptop at the SJD lobby and was deep into my writing. At 12:30 I went to lunch with my friends at Lake wood. I was back at the SJD lobby at 4:00 pm to work on my writing. On my way back, Rev Doug waved at me as he drove past. I was thinking to myself as to what a queer sight in the road I was, because I guess I was doing a very un-American thing of ‘commuting’ in my bike wearing formal.

SJD lobby is a quite place to concentrate to do some writing. I stayed at SJD and I attended the 6:00 PM service as well. On the whole today I attended al most all services on a Sunday. So the day that started with everything being seemingly wrong ended as a perfect Sunday.

Author: Emmanuel R Paulpeter

I am a writer, spiritual director, life coach and a Church Planter who love all things pop culture, theology and spirituality.

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