I used to live in a strange town called Waldorf. The first time I ever went to Waldorf was to eat lunch with new colleagues from the parish where I was about to start working. Carol directed me to the restaurant by telling me to drive south into Waldorf, then turn left on “Mattawoman-Beantown Road." Cheryl mentioned a helpful landmark: “You’ll see a giant paint can on the left side of the road right before your left turn. The giant paint can is how we mark things in Waldorf – everything is either before or after the paint can.”
I found the whole thing very strange. Waldorf was always like that for me, though I did become quite accustomed to saying “Mattawoman-Beantown” and giving directions by orienting everything around a very large paint can that was perched on top of a strip mall.
After slugging through seven or eight years of purgatorial Waldorfian living, my sister-in-law’s Swiss boyfriend informed me that Waldorf means “wooded village” in German. It sounded so lovely! If only!
But I shouldn’t complain. Waldorf had its charms. And one of them was a little non-denominational church situated on Waldorf’s main thoroughfare, nestled into one of Waldorf’s most nondescript strip malls. It was called the “God Is In Control Church.”
Now that is a great name for a church. Sure, we Catholics have very fine church names: Holy Infant, Our Lady Help of Christians, Prince of Peace, The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Wonderful saints, devotions and mysteries. But I think Waldorf may have one-upped us this time. Every time I drove past that little storefront church, I felt great about life. I might have been living in a strange town, surrounded by suburbia, yearning for a wooded village. But God was in control. God was in control. And that was enough.
Yes, the members of that little church had done something right. Just by choosing a name and hanging up a sign, they were evangelizing me. The “God Is In Control Church” made me happy. It made me feel safe. It made me want to nod my head and shout “Amen!”
Plus, it was almost as much fun to say as “Mattawoman-Beantown.”