I have been praying that most of you were not offended by my last article. Perhaps there was one or two that needed to find a little offense at the things I said, but I mean that in the best possible way. Hopefully most of you understood the message that local Churches are full of broken people just like you. We are your neighbors, friends and family members. Most of us do not sit around thinking of ways to judge others, but there are always a few inside and outside the church that makes it their life to put others down so they can feel better about themselves.
Some of the feedback I received thought perhaps I had been burned by someone and I was writing out of the pain and anger of that event. It would be much easier to point to one event and admit I had succumbed to those emotions and needed to vent my point through my pen, so to speak. The fact is I have heard the shouts of hypocrisy from just about every angle in every Church community I have served. I can’t say what got me thinking in that direction, but I was thinking it and I had an opportunity to write, so I did.
I really like to think of the Church as a cradle-to-grave health center with a fully functioning emergency room, and intensive care unit, a rehab wing, a few rooms dedicated to the crazy folk (I say with a smile and compassion in my heart), regular hospital rooms and a retirement center. We have care facilities for every condition and every concern of life and once you get to feeling better we have jobs for you to take care of those who are sick and in need of care. Come as you are, wear what you like (as long as you cover yourself of course), be tended to or tend to others.
I worry a lot of the condition of the Church in our culture today. Please understand when I talk about Church I am not necessarily talking about the church I serve here in Earlham, but the Church in general. Of course, I worry about the church I serve here in Earlham too. I worry too a lot about people especially today with the financial and employment concerns that face almost every one of us. How are you holding up? What are you doing to keep things together? How do you keep your family going? What do you do when you car breaks down or your child gets sick? How you found a new job yet? Are you able to keep current with your bills? How are you and your spouse or your family getting along with one another? Is there any joy around your house?
I worry about you. I want you to be well and to have hope. I want to take a moment and make a shameless plug for my Church. If you need some solace, if you need some hope, if you need a shoulder to cry on, if you need a place to vent, if you need a place to meet with God in the community of His Children, then I pray that we are the kind of church that can help you with that. I ask for your forgiveness if I or this church has not been that to you or for you in the past. If not here, find a place you can go and get the care and the community you need. Though moments and days can drag on when you are in crisis; you and I both know that life is too short to live alone and in pain. If your burden is heavy it’s because you were never intended to carry it for so long. You were not created to bear burdens alone. Christ bore the heaviest burden: your sins, your life, your death, so that you wouldn’t have to do so. Let Him take some of the weight off your shoulders. Ask Him and His people for some help. They can’t read minds and they don’t know unless you ask. Christ makes it clear in scripture that you do not have because you do not ask. Please ask.