Monday, April 05, 2010

To our Easter/Christmas Friends

It was good to see you in church this Sunday. I'm glad you came. A big part of worship is tradition, and I know yours is to only come at Christmas and Easter. We're genuinely glad you came -- some attendance is better than none!

Of course, I hope that you break with tradition and come more often. You're certainly more than welcome (and I hope we made that clear). And, while you might be giving up the luxury of sleeping in at least one day a week, it's only through attending that you'll discover what you've been missing, and get the full benefit of Christian Fellowship.

For one thing, you won't be among strangers. Perhaps you know some of us through work, or the neighborhood, but by only attending twice a year you miss the experiences we share throughout the year. Things like family game nights, and outings, concerts, and day trips. Or things like serving the community through work at the shelter, or helping distribute food, or volunteering for light home repair.

These experiences (and seeing the same folks every Sunday) are great ways to get better acquainted with a pretty diverse (and I like to think interesting) group of people. We have educators, woodworkers, veterans (of several wars), firefighters, police officers, doctors, writers, and many more. Some of us have traveled far and wide, some camp, some fish and hunt. Some of us even play cards (yeah, we can do that). Whatever your interest, chances are there's someone here who shares your passion.

But there's an even more important aspect of Christian fellowship that you cheat yourself out of by only coming twice a year -- and it's a big part of why we celebrate those two holidays in the first place. Because Jesus was pretty clear: we are to treat others and serve others as He served us.

So whatever problems you're having in life, we understand, and we can help. Mostly because we've gone through the same thing. You might think, by only seeing us twice a year, that we're kind of insulated from the indignities of the real world. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We're all human, and our imperfections are with us always. Members of our congregation have suffered through divorce, others survived destructive relationships. Some have been victims of violent crime. Some of us have lost our jobs -- and some our businesses. Some of us have suffered with addiction, or helplessly watch a loved one be ravaged by it. We've been struck down by debilitating illness, or lost family members to disease.

Individually, we're not much. But when we come together, we help each other through those difficult times no one should have to suffer alone.

So if life's good for you now, come on back and we'll celebrate that fact with you. If it's not, please come back so we can help.

Because that's what friends are for.

Hope to see you before December, but if not, we'll welcome you then.

- Ralph


  1. Anonymous11:36 PM

    I often find Christians to be ignorant and arrogant in their view of heaven and salvation. Even this post demonstrates a certain air of superiority over those who chose not to attend your church for anything other than special occasions (e.g., "... some attendance is better than none." Oh, really?). Why should one even speculate about the relative value of how another decides to spend her time? I know you mean no harm, but check your true motive for writing this. Surely it isn't for the well-being of those holiday-only churchgoers.

  2. Actually, the motive for writing the post was to articulate an invitation to the holiday-only churchgoers.

    If folks are feeling superior to these twice-yearlys, then they need to read the Bible a little more closely. I recommend the Parable of the Day-Laborers to get an indication of how God judges attendence (it's not how we would do it, that's for sure).

    As I noted, "We're all human, and our imperfections are with us always." Still true for me, I'm afraid.

    The point I was trying to make was simply this: coming to church twice a year is like going through a full-course buffet and snagging a little bit of ice cream. If all you want is dessert, that's fine.

    But if you're hungry, and you get the ice cream because you think it's the only food available, then I'm saying is no, there's more.

    There's all different kinds of meat, and fish, and vegetables and fruit available, too. Maybe that hunger you're experiencing is your body asking for certain nutrients -- nutrients not found in ice cream.

    So come back and sample the buffet. Not everyone likes every food, and that's OK. Take what you want or need, and pass on the rest.