The Lord may be master of all He surveys, but if He doesn't hurry up and fix a particular parking mess in Falls Church, there may be a pitched battle worthy of Down Below.
The combatants are the Columbia Baptist Church, at Columbia Street and Maple Avenue, and its surrounding neighbors, chiefly the householders on a cul de sac called James Thurber Court.
Columbia Baptist is a very well-attended house of worship. Its regular parishioners include Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, former Nixon aide Charles Colson and several hundred others.
Which means that you'd better arrive early on Sunday mornings to get a space in the church parking lot. Which means that late arrivals usually lap up all the parking spaces on James Thurber Court. Which means that JTC residents can't park on their own street for half of every Sunday -- and often can't get out of their own driveways, because late-arriving Columbia-ites have taken the unChristian step of blocking them in.
Relations reached an especially low ebb this past fall, forcing JTC residents to retaliate -- twice.
One Sunday, a JTC inhabitant came out of his house, fully expecting to make his 10 a.m. tee-off time at a local golf club. Alas, a Columbia Baptist sedan was parked right in front of his driveway.
So the man marched into the church -- resplendent in his golf duds -- and interrupted the service by shouting out, "Someone is blocking me in!" Quite quickly, that somebody wasn't.
The second "shot" was fired in churchly terms. Again, a Columbia churchgoer had blocked a Thurber driveway. So the blockee put a note under the windshield wiper of the blocker's car that read, "Thanks to you, I was not able to go to church today."
Then she sat on her front step, doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle and waiting for the offender, just so she could eyeball him -- and scowl at him.
William Higgins, the assistant pastor at Columbia Baptist, acknowledges that "street parking is always a problem. You can have 95 percent in complete obedience and two or three percent that want a parking place no matter what, and everybody winds up with egg on their face."
However, Higgins has begun egg-removal duty by taking two steps:
First, he has started a park-and-ride program that brings parishioners by bus from a parking lot at a nearby office building, and back again.
Second, he has made it clear to his parishioners that the church supports police towing. "If you're blocked in," Higgins asked me to say to the JTC contingent, "call the Falls Church police and get the car towed."
And if none of that works? JTC residents are hereby advised to try a time-honored method. Clasp both hands in front of self, look toward the sky and begin, "Dear Lord . . . .
Fifteen days to go in our 1985-86 campaign on behalf of sick kids, and group donations continue to pour in. The latest:
The Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Employment Services/Work Incentive Program national office staff ($45).
Students and teachers at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Beltsville ($193.82).
Employes of the Washington Music Center in Wheaton ($100).
Joyce Goodman's third-grade class at Congressional School in Falls Church ($11).
Employes of the Barcroft Branch, First American Bank of Virginia ($130).
"The gang" at the Pan American reservations counter in Alexandria ($1,147).
Employes of Cavalier Moving & Storage, Inc. of Fairfax ($620).
The Giant Food Accounting Department ($50).
Litton Amecom, EW Software Engineering Department of College Park ($188).
The Civilian District, Wang Laboratories, Inc.-Federal Systems Division ($375).
The Jefferson Village Ladies League from Bowl America in Falls Church ($76).
Homeroom 209 at Holy Cross Academy ($25 and a big thank-you to Nicole Mischler).
Ozmar Inc. ($200 in honor of eight square- and round-dancing clubs: Cavaliers, Donegals, Ozrounders, Rapparounds, Rossmoor Rounders, Roundabouts, Roundets and Wizards of Oz).
The Division of Organization and Personnel and the Labor Relations Branch, Nuclear Regulatory Commission ($275).
They wanted it "in nice bold print," and their wish is my command: The Women of Our Saviour, Hillandale, Md., made a donation of $5,000 -- a percentage of the profits from their 1985 holiday bazaar. Lovely!
The Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics ($45).
Employes of The Charles E. Smith Companies ($1,555).
Pay Location 325, Merrifield Post Office LSM Crew ($125).
Employes of Pulse, Inc. and Pulse Engineering, Inc. in College Park ($400, one-third better than last year).
Labat-Anderson Inc. of Arlington ($50).
Employes of E-Systems Inc., Melpar Division, in Falls Church ($8,406.28, the biggest gift of the campaign so far -- well done!).
Staff and management of Online Computer Systems, Inc. of Germantown ($1,000).
Members of the Security Department at The Washington Hilton Hotel ($367.29, and special thanks to Sgt. Ted Smith, Sgt. Eddie Brown and Capt. Paula Valentine).
The Friday Afternoon Bridge Group ($25).
Staffers in the Office of Management and Budget, Computer Center, Montgomery County Government ($100).
The Windermere-Wednesday Bridge Group ($30).
The IRS Collection, Automation and Taxpayer Service Training Branch ($50).
Staff members of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences ($690, which brings the 20-year total of this gang to a gorgeous $8,752).
Kevin's Auto Trim of Laurel ($50).
The Government Systems Division, Western Union Telegraph Company, McLean ($650).
The Inter Service Wives Bowling League from Shirley Bowl in Alexandria ($46).
Sure-Fit Lock and Safe Company of Silver Spring ($50).
Members of the Ship Control Systems and Equipment Division, Naval Sea Systems Command ($72.60).
Employes of Pepco's Chalk Point Generating Station (an electric $150).
Office of Program and Fiscal Integrity, U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration ($85.15).
Management and staff at the Pennsylvania Avenue Social Security office in Southeast ($50).
Progressive Council, No. 9, Daughters of America ($10).
The Production Support Branch of the Office of Central Reference in the Central Intelligence Agency ($520 from an annual bake sale).
The U.S. Army Intelligence Threat and Analysis Center at the Washington Navy Yard ($173 from a hat-passing).
And the U.S. Energy Conservation Corporation of Alexandria ($100).
Heaps of thanks, all of you! TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN:
Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071. The campaign ends on Jan. 24.