Monday, April 2, 2012

Sundays

A friend of mine recently said that she thinks Sunday mornings are one of the hardest things about living and working here.  We yearnnnnn to get to be a part of a church body that worships, preaches, serves, fellowships, spurs one another on...

We had some friends to dinner at our place this week and when this discussion came up, Matt told them that we'd love to have a certain gathering of local friends to join on Sunday mornings..... but no one yet wants to come.  May that day come soon!

There are a few gatherings that we are allowed to be apart of here, but there's always difficulties with travel (we've waited cumulative hours on the roadside for taxis lately- not fun with four little ones) or some strangeness about a small group of folks from across the board of theological-church backgrounds that try to settle into a one hour service together.  It can be wonderful and/or sometimes it can be just plain silly or really, really odd.

Recently we heard a "talk" that had some scripture it was supposed to be from but I couldn't tell you what. The only thing I remember hearing was about how Christians should be happy.  There were lots of jokes and then the main point at the end was "for crying out loud, when someone asks you how you're doing, don't be depressing and moan and groan.  Show them a happy face and cheerful voice.  You never know whose life you're going to change with just that."

We were squirming in our seats.  Ahh....   if we could have just raised a hand and mentioned kindly....  "But, sir, surely you're not saying that being Christian is about always being happy;  fake smiles don't mean we're super spiritual.   Nor is it matter of us doing everything right all the time."  Actually the exact opposite is more needful to point out:  the issue that changes everything is that God sent Jesus to rescue us when no amount of effort on our part could bring us to life.  Christ saves us from our own inescapable imperfection and even our own intentional wrongs.    This is shocking, crazy, wonderful news that I know I desperately need to have hammered into my heart repeatedly.

Argh.  If all I ever heard from the pulpit was what I should be doing to be a happy-looking "Christian" person, I sure wouldn't want to come back for more.  Sadly, if this is what many are hearing, or simply a sermon a week about being nice, it doesn't surprise me that so many walk away from the game.  Really, who would ever think it's fun to dress up and pretend to be pious?  Who would say it's truly soul-satisfying to be fake or to trust in our failure-full selves?  How sad to see the name "Christian" here...   like a misnamed shallow social group or a tombstone for a dead church.

Pastors, we would see Jesus... the God Man who came, who knows us, who "gets" our lives and struggles, who calls us precious and has counted the hairs on our heads, who is from eternity but entered this world to bring us to himself....  Let us feed our souls on the truth of Him that we may live.

This week there we heard a much more encouraging sermon.  Really a joy to hear.  And, what a grace too that we live in this day of having such easy access to excellent sermons online.  We're so grateful for the Gospel Coalition group, the blogging and sermon links there, and the many great churches we enjoy hearing from, and for friends sending links they've loved.   We're really filthy rich with resources......  and we're so. very. grateful.

And....  because recorded sermons are still not "The Body of Christ" I will also give a little shout out that we are getting super excited to connect with many of you back in the states this fall when we are back for a visit.  Please let us hear from you if you have time to connect.  What a gift it would be for us!  Thank you friends!

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