Thursday, August 04, 2016


When I was a kid back home in my wonderful Memphis, Missouri, I went to Sunday School and Church; sometimes by myself.  Sometimes mom and/or my brother John would go and some of those times they'd go without me.  I was a hit-the-church-scene-in-spurts sort of a school kid who would much rather toss the baseball around in the back yard.  Basically, I went to church to keep God off of my back for six more days.

I mainly went to church in the warmer months.  The walk from 448 East Jackson street was not awful as being in a small town had such advantages of destinations being in close proximity.  Too, my reward for going to church was that on my way home my path just happened to pass by Gardine's Drugs on the city square where I could pop in and get a quarter's worth of candy as a personal reward for looking like I was attentive to what Rev. Trower said during my sit-still-and-look-interested misery at the Presbyterian church.

I'm guessing there are a lot like me who thought (and many still believe) that going to church is a penalty for personal misbehavior Mondays thru Saturdays.  To me, church was what I owed God for being bad 6/7ths of the week.  Sundays were sort of a time-out from sinning for all of us.  To me...of which I really didn't know beans...attending church was my effort to sort of experience Jr. Heaven for an hour.  Yes, I resented going.  It may have been just me; but I felt that boredom itself was bored at church.

On the upside, I felt God was obligated to me since I publicly put in 60 minutes of sacrificial sitting when I would much rather have entered the golf tournament. Might I ask if anyone else ever felt that the closing Amen equaled a Get out of jail card  free? wasn't just me!

Of course, I was a kid back then and misconceptions ran galore through my curious mind.  And I've fortunately gotten to learn a few things here and there....about God...about others...and about myself.  Church isn't Jr. Heaven for an hour.  It is rather a team of people (a nation of people) who strive to mature in the Spirit of the Son of God.  Our desire is to credit God with the abundance of life while also living compassionately as we do try to help others experience the authentic joy of meaningful and productive living.

Attending church is a divine assignment from God to help us help one another to keep going in this burdening world of disappointments and rejections.  Life isn't easy.  Jesus came on a rescue mission and then handed us the reigns that we would keep his goals moving forward.  We can do this.  We can make a difference.  But no one can make it as the Lone Ranger.  We are in need of Holy Spirit assistance which oft times comes from the core of other believers who can endure our difficulties and support our woeful insecurities.

Church isn't orchestrated boredom for an hour on Sundays.  It is the hope found at the scene of an empty grave for every person due to the brilliant tactics of our Living God. And this hope lives on our streets and in our hearts in this very day and age....24/7.

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