Let’s Not Take “Us” For Granted…
It’s summer and attendance is down. I understand some of the reasons for lower attendance in summer. Vacations, weekend trips and so on can all play havoc on our worship attendance during the summer. But, truthfully, some of it I don’t understand, or accept. When we miss church because we’re taking a “me day” (a phrase I hear a lot these days) I want to respond by noting that when you are in church you are having a “me” day. There’s something so silly and so shallow about all the emphasis on “me” in our culture these days. I write this with hesitation because I’ll miss a couple of Sundays in August too, as I’m going on vacation. To be honest I don’t really “do” vacation all that well. I get bored with missing my daily routine and work schedule. I miss my church when I’m gone!
But, while I’m in an honest mood I think we should all realize how blessed we are to be part of such a great church community. I hear from people all the time about how our church is different, about how we really care for one another and what a difference our church makes in their lives. I agree. We do have a wonderful community, not perfect, just wonderful. It’s easy to take “special” as “normal” though.
We all need community. Sports clubs, swim teams, dive teams, soccer teams, neighborhood groups and all the other associations people are a part of are wonderful but the connections that come from being in a Christian church community far exceed anything else we find anywhere else. I don’t just truly believe this; I know it to be true. I have had countless young people come back and share with me what a difference this church made in their lives, with or without a large youth group with a lot of “programming” to offer our young people. I have had countless people who have moved away relate back to me how much they miss our church and what it meant to them in their lives, while they were here as a part of us.
Most of us take our wonderful church community for granted. We are used to it being here when we need it. We are used to being able to call on the joys and benefits of community when we are in need. We are used to having fun and joyful and relevant worship Sunday in and Sunday out. We get used to having lots of great programs and service and connections all around us in the life of our church. I know I do. Then, I miss a couple of weeks and notice how much I did miss you all.
A lot of us are like the words in the old country song, “I overlooked an orchid while looking for a rose”. Actually, I like roses better than orchids but I get the metaphor. This wonderful Christian community doesn’t come free or easy, not even cheap. Each one of us has to be a regular and faithful part of it. Each one of us has to pay our dues. Each one of us has to give back in order for it all to work. If you’ve been gone a lot or missed a lot or haven’t been here on Sundays know that we miss you and hope you will come back. You should have missed us. If you’ve been taking out more than you put in please take care to turn that equation around. If you’ve been an active and joyful part of the mix that we call church, God bless you and don’t change anything. I’ll look forward to seeing you this Sunday!