So I haven’t blogged in a while and before yesterday I hadn’t even logged on to the blog in a couple of weeks. I was amazed to see about the same number of people have been stopping by the blog each day, even though I haven’t been writing. I’m not sure the message this sends. I know I do appreciate those of you who think enough of this venture to stop by occassionally.
I have been busier the past couple of weeks, especially this week, than possibly I have ever been. Lots of different projects at the Church are really coming to a head all at once it seems. It is an exciting time, but it is wearing on me physically, spiritually, emotionally.
To misuse a wonderfully overused spiritual metaphor, the overflow of my cup simply hasn’t been bountiful enough to run into this blog recently.
I am getting ready to head to yet another Facilities Committee meeting, but for the past hour or so this morning I have been working on my sermon for Sunday. It is odd to go about the terribly demanding, grueling, awful, wonderful process of writing a sermon in between frequent meetings, phone calls, interruptions, and emails. It is distracting. It stifles the flow of the creative Spirit and its process. Mysteriously, it also adds flavor to the sermon. It gives perspective and sometimes adds depth and even illustration. It brings to mind the needs of those who will hear it and the groanings and praises of this body of believers. It is stressful and frustrating to an extreme, but also contains a bit of bliss.
I wrote this for my sermon Sunday and thought I would share this excerpt with you this morning. Grace and peace to each of you as you finish out your work week and hope for a bit of rest for your Sabbath.
The Church, the body of Christ, at times can be a place of absolute beauty. In the body of Christ we find acceptance like no where else. A place where we can truly and deeply open ourselves up. After constructing walls and defenses, carefully developed as a result of sometimes years and decades of hurt and pain, when we truly find a Church, we find a place we can drop these walls and defenses, where we can share our pain, our hurt, our elations, our joys, our dreams with our fellow brothers and sisters of Christ. Church can be the place we find comfort in times of sorrow, where we find the friend to sing praises with in times of joy. Where we find relationships that go deeper than relationships found anywhere else in life because they aren’t simply based on having things in common, on living in the same town, of being the same age, of working in the same place, of having kids in the same activities, they are based on something eternal. They are based on a mutual, given-quantity of love for each other and for our God, so much beyond ourselves. When relationships like this are found, the Church is beautiful. IT is just relationships based in our eternal hope, like this, that draw people to Church, that, outside of salvation, are the most compelling reason to come to Christ.
Sadly, and for many reasons, often times churches aren’t this beautiful interconnection of love-based, mutually supportive, relationships. People are hurt by the Church. People put up walls and defenses specifically designed for the Church and Church people and consequently disable themselves from being able to experience the richness that comes with true community. We hesitate to truly open ourselves up. We hesitate to want people to open up because we hesitate to truly love others, even those sitting right next to us in worship, as God loves them and as God loves us. We hesitate to live with each other, and treat each other, and be in relationship with one another, as God desires, as Peter teaches, and we cheat ourselves, and we cheat our brothers of the beauty and the richness of Church. And the world sees, and its taste and appetite for Christ sours and diminishes.