I heard such an amazing speaker at church this morning. I would not venture to try to capture the words here without giving him the proper space and credit, but in short, the speaker was emphasizing how the Bible calls us to not "crawl under a rock" when it seems like the world is spinning out of control. Rather, we are called to be the strong ones, the ones who have a Higher purpose and a deep and unmoving settling of the heart that is impervious to the world's whims. Further, he emphasized the Scripture's passages about the wise servants and how they were given additional responsibilities and earned the trust of the business owner. (If you are curious, the passage is Matthew 24). But anyways...
After the service, I stopped by the health food store for something I needed. I then stopped by Starbucks for my caramel macchiatto. Naturally, I have come to know the baristas and I try to keep up with their families, second jobs, college classes, and lives in general. One particular lady, a new mother, was working today and we chatted for a couple of minutes; She commented on my dress and said I looked nice. I said "thank you, I've just come from church," and she smiled and tilted her shoulders in that way people smile and tilt at people who say they "take tea" in the afternoons and watch "Wheel of Fortune" and listen to NPR. She even went so far to say "Awww, church." (Side note- Thanks, Bekah, for teaching me to just say 'thank you' to a compliment. I'm getting better, really, I am!)
I'd invited a young couple from Friday's dinner to visit my church, and to my surprise and delight they came this morning. So I was feeling compelled to invite someone else, so I smiled at this lady at Starbucks and asked her if she goes to church, and if not, would she like to visit sometime? She looked somewhat sad and said softly, no, no, we don't go to church.
She started to talk to me, but we were interrupted by the (apparently uncaffeinated) woman behind me, anxious to pipe up with "Yes, Church!"
We both turned to her and she gave her order for her vanilla-frappuccino-thingy
I don't fault her for feeling the need to jump in on a somewhat quiet conversation, but she was, as I said, pre-caffeine and I do some pretty strange things without my coffee, too.
So I thanked the barista and told her I'd see her soon, thanks for the caramel machiatto, have a wonderful day, etc., etc., but I was troubled when I left. How is it ok, I asked myself, that Church has become a quaint Sunday morning ideal. And when did Church become somewhere we go, to satisfy our own desires or longings or ideals or our family's nagging or our own guilty consciences.
And why, I ask, do we feel like we have to water down the Gospel, the message, the heart-wrenching grace of Jesus' life and death, to get people to want to go to church? Why do we have to become like the world to bring the world inside? Why can't we bring the church, or rather, Jesus, to the world? Some say that YOU and I are perhaps the only Bible someone will ever read. I'm sad that we, the people with the Message, have felt the need to be like everyone else in order to be heard. (I want to note here that I'm sad because I am guilty of all of the things I'm about to say below.)
I'm sad that we've felt the need to bring entertainment to the Altar in order for people to come. My question is, if WE, those who claim to follow HIM, were truly different, would we be better messengers? If we were true and transparent, humble yet respectable, steady but not haughty, lovely but not vain, happy but not delirious, trustworthy but not secretive, giving and loving out of sheer abandonment, content but not mediocre, careful but not cheap, funny without the hurtful exploitation of others, passionate without building walls... Would they come? What if WE, His people, were better listeners and wiser counsel, better friends, better wives/husbands/brothers/si
Where would you fall? I know I'd fall short of what He has set as an example. Wait-there's more for me. I'd fall short of what He has COMMANDED. The Bible is not a book of suggestions; The Bible is a book of commandments. Do we fail? Yes. But the shortest way to someone's forgiving heart is to admit you were wrong, or that you failed.
I don't plan to be the ostrich sticking my head under the sand while I watch the world trip and fall into her moral potholes, built on roads that seemed strong but are really crumbling under the surface. Am I going to fail? Yes. But I'm forgiven, and I've never been one to settle for mediocre.
Thanks for letting me share. What do you think?