‘Twas the Night of the Lock-in

Jacob Eckeberger
December 20th, 2017

Twas the night of the lock-in, and all through the church
Teenagers were hiding, making leaders all search;
One was in the elevator, going up and down,
Two in the baptismal, pretending to drown,


There were sophomores in the kitchen, looking for food,
And a junior in the youth room, clearly in a mood.
Two freshmen were in the pastor’s office, reorganizing his library.
Two seniors were locked in the sanctuary, lip syncing Katy Perry.


No children were nestled all snug in their beds.
All the sugar they drank had gone to their heads.
Three volunteers had thought bed would happen by one,
But the youth pastor declared, “No sleep ‘til we’re done!”


Just then from the church kitchen there arose such a clatter,
All Type A leaders sprang up to see what was the matter.
Away to the kitchen they flew in a flash,
To find who had discovered the late-night food stash.


There amid a pile of M&M’s and Dum Dums,
Surrounded by donuts now reduced to donut crumbs,
In a puddle of fruit punch, from a cooler now spilt,
Sat three sophomore guys, faces covered in guilt.


“We were hungry,” one insisted, “and we just wanted a taste!”
“We got a little excited,” said another, “and got sloppy in our haste.”
“That was our 2 a.m. snack,” one leader woodenly intoned.
From behind them, “We’ll all starve!” a 15-year-old bemoaned.


Quickly the news spread throughout every room;
The joy of the night, was overcast with doom.
“No 2 a.m. snacks? This night is a disaster!”
All thought it was true, except the youth pastor.


Surveying the messy kitchen, food swept into a pile,
He calmly pulled out his phone, and clicked on speed dial.
Cell phone in one hand, church credit card in the other,
Calmly he said, “Twelve right away, and load them up, brother.”


“Add, sausage! Add Pepperoni! And add Bacon, please!
Plus beef! Plus ham! Plus lots of extra cheese!
Stack up those ingredients! Stack them up tall.
And throw in some two-liters to wash down it all.”


“Could we add bread sticks?” one senior pled.
“Or better yet,” said another, “how about cheesy bread?”
So complete was the agreement of this small request,
It seemed that fulfilling it would probably be best.


So although no 2 a.m. snack was served up that night,
A 3 a.m. feast was delivered just right.
And without much fanfare and without a search,
Teenagers appeared from every corner of the church.


They packed around the food, squeezed in where they were able
To pick pizza from the boxes and sit around a table.
And for just a few moments, they paused from their zest,
To say, “Thanks God for pizza! May this food all be blessed.”


Then leaders and students, they dug in together,
A late-night feast that seemed it could go on forever.
Their eyes—how they twinkled! Their dimples, how merry!
Their cheeks full of pizza, and some coke with a cherry!


Two girls snuck pepperoni into a boy’s hair;
One leader guzzled Mountain Dew, just for a dare.
They laughed then talked then laughed some more
And didn’t even waste a piece, when it fell on the floor.


Shortly students and leaders would get up and disperse.
The sleepiest would lose interest, and drift away first.
And in the morning leaders would wander around with cracked voices,
Questioning their own logic and debating life choices.


Of course, there was method in the madness and logic to the night
A reason why this lock-in was clearly all right.
No one spoke it out loud, yet it didn’t go unsaid—
A feeling in each heart and a truth for each head.


But at 3 a.m. around that table it felt surprisingly clear
Why students and leaders had chosen to be here.
Although never verbalized, the message was strong:
“These are people who care and a place I belong.”


Sam Townsend carries a passion for people, good writing and puns bad enough to make grown men groan. Sam lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry, English Writing and Biblical Studies from the University of Northwestern and a Master of Divinity from Bethel

Jacob Eckeberger

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