Be the church all week long.
That was my second prescription for being part of a healthy church. (Confused? Scroll down and read Saturday and Sunday’s blogs, the two just below this one.)
Be the church all week long is what our denomination means by what we voted into our Membership Vows in 2008. Traditionally those had included our prayers, presence, gifts and service. The 2008 addition was “our witness.”
That’s more than words, but words are a good start. In simplest terms: Be the church all week long.
What shape is that going to take for you today?
Thanks for several private and/or face-to-face Comments on yesterday’s blog!
In case you missed it, scroll down one entry here to Don’t Let This Happen to Your Church. Like most of my what I try to do here, it’s intentionally a quick read.
The ending is where I want to point you today: Be active in your church is the first of two prescriptions from yesterday.
What does Be active in your church look like?
1. Be more than a consumer. Do more than being passively present in worship. Let the very word “worship” be a verb like it’s supposed to be. Worship.
2. Commit to a small group or Sunday School class. If there’s not one already happening for someone like you, make an appointment and talk with your pastor about starting one…the shock to her/his heart will be healthy.
3. Pray more than you complain. We all have less time and energy than we pretend, so let’s spend ours productively. Talk with God more, and listen even more.
Those three steps will help prevent what happened to my friend’s home church in yesterday’s blog. Joni Mitchell was right when she sang, “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” Don’t let “gone” become a descriptor of your church.
Review today’s three steps, ask God for help in following through with all three, and share these three with someone else today.
As always, I look foward to hearing from you anytime.
I’m assuming you’re active in a church; if not, stop reading right now and find one…a great place to start is Find-A-Church at http://www.umc.org.
The following comes from a colleague, with permission to share it; all redactions are mine —
Five generations of my family worshiped there. Grandpa died as chairman of the Church Board.
The Church is now facing closure.
Beautiful wonderfully kept historic building.
Population locally is 10 times literally what it was when my mom and aunt grew up there. Endowment pays the bills. Handful of elderly saints. No one in my family has lived there in over 20 years and I believe I know everyone present except the pastor. No new people in 20 years.
22 worshippers on Easter which they were thrilled about… a generation ago 300+. Lay supply pastor age 80 herself. No fights, no controversy, just massive die off with no replacements. Very sad.
— Don’t let this happen to your church. Be active in your church, and be the church all week long.
From a tv show, two Soviet spies in a heated argument —
Him: “If you’re wrong, we’d be giving up
the greatest intelligence success
since we got the atom bomb.”
Her: “That’s what we always say
right before our people die for nothing.”
Her: “And the next thing
we always say is,
‘It was so obvious.'”
— The Americans, season 1, episode 13
Something about that exchange haunts me. Something about having the kind of certainty that’s unfounded. Something about blind, unthinking, even faddish faith.
By contrast, our old buddy St. Paul says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) Scripture also warns, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
Pretty serious stuff. It’s so obvious.
Her name’s Hope.
She was the after-lunch speaker at our church this week.
Representing Hodgson Mills, she had shopping bags of their food products for us.
“I just put together a bunch of stuff,” she explained about the bags’ contents, “Probably everybody’ll get something diffrent.”
And then she said this: “What you get is what you get, so don’t throw a fit.”
Reminded me of a prayer that’s made its way into our current United Methodist Hymnal —
God, grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Or as she said, “What you get is what you get, so don’t throw a fit.”
Her name’s Hope, and it fits her.
He’s funny. He’s quick.
And he’s serious.
Our final item from a recent interview with Seth Meyers —
Q: What is your greatest regret?
A: That I didn’t keep a journal.
Comedy writer, talk show host and more, Seth Meyers’ recent interview —
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself,
what would it be?
A: I’d manage my time better.
Boom. And if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?