Do you remember your first memories of church? Maybe it was when you were a child and you remember your parents getting you up early on Sunday for church. Quickly your parents would pull you out of bed, get you dressed, and hand you a pop-tart as you unfortunately walked past the television and morning cartoons to get in the car to go to church. Why were they in such a hurry?
Maybe it was when you were a little older. Maybe elementary age? Church was different. People you didn’t know started asking you really personal questions. You remember waking up every Sunday with this knot in your stomach because people might find out all the bad things you had done that week and they might tell God! It was if they had some hidden spiritual x-ray machine that could read your mind. Why did your parents start going to church? Where did this come from? Had things been so bad that your parents were actually turning to God for help. This can’t be good.
Maybe it was when you were in high school? Maybe you were tired of your group of friends, maybe your parents were tired of your friends, but some how you ended up in church and making new friends. Do you remember all those inside church / bible jokes that people would laugh at? Something about some sport game being like David and Goliath and that one guy being like a sling shot and then everyone breaking out in simultaneous laughter. It was really awkward, but for some reason you wanted to be there.
Maybe it was when you were an adult and it seemed like everyone else there had such perfect lives. Everyone seemed so well put together. If they ever found out how messed up your life was they would never let you in this place again, but you kept going back.
Whenever it was it was likely that we all walked into the same experience. Some nice people are there to say hello and ask you about the weekend, and oh yea, the really nice weather. Why do people talk about such surface conversation? I guess it is just a starting point.
As we find a place to sit, not too close because we don’t want people to notice us, but also not too far because we don’t want someone to come and talk to us so somewhere in the middle, on the right, next to the exit, we find a place to sit down. Everything seems somewhat normal at first. People seem warm, nice, almost inviting, and it is slowly starting to feel like this might be okay.
Is this what church should be like? Is this what Jesus had in mind 2,000 years ago? How did we get to this point?
What have your experiences been like?