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You’re right. I don’t always practice what I preach and miss the mark.
Cutting church is a whole lot easier than cutting school classes.
You skip one Sunday service and, lo and behold, the second and those following are a snap to pass over.
I could cite the old-age excuse by saying my legs don’t navigate as well as they used to. I could probably come up with a few more, too.
Some folks like me spend a great deal of time out of the Palmetto State and it is impossible to be in two places at once.
But that one will only get you so far, since they have churches where you travel to.
Yes, they do and I have attended a country church in rural Maryland, which was the site of Civil War battles.
Even this historic church is suffering falling attendance. The pews are mostly occupied by older members, who faithfully drag their young grandkids into the fold. Ever eager to draw members, the churchs offers almost a complete breakfast to urge those to come into the Lord’s house.
It’s kinda hard to figure.
Congregations often discuss dwindling attendance, but those mega church services on TV show pews packed tighter than sardine cans. Crime seems to be increasing while churches have lots of available space in their parking lots. Some folks can remember, when special offerings were taken up to get dirt parking lots paved. My, times have truly changed.
The great question for us to ponder is whether we’re better off today than we were yesterday.
Frankly, I don’t think so.
Now be honest; do you feel safe at home or do you check the doors twice to make sure all of ’em are locked when you go and come?
Will you freely admit you sometimes cross the street rather than walk the sidewalk where people are standing around?
What has happened? Why are we avoiding each other?
We can’t blame wars and rumors of wars. From history and my own remembrances, wars have always been around.
I hate to say it, but the fact is, that scattered among us, are folks who are selfish, unhappy or just plain mean.
A lot ’em have forgotten that we need each other to make it through when things get tough.
The majority of senior citizens can clearly remember when Sunday was the only day we didn’t work. It was set aside as a day of worship, whether we liked it or not.
There were no picture shows, television, ball teams, races and mega food bars to sidetrack us.
Our mamas and daddys didn’t send us to church, they took us, and in some cases, dragged us in the direction of a steeple.
I still remember David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den and Moses in his basket boat.
Bless Pete, I even remember how all the fellas would jostle and shove for the chance to sit in the center hole of the big round table in our Sunday school room.
We even had a little metal white toy church where we marched up to every Sunday to deposit our birthday brownies.
We knew more about the church building than the preacher’s sermon. Besides, he was hard to hear over the racket those old ceiling fans made stirring up the hot air from a summer morning. In July and August, I thought we should’ve had the Lord’s Supper every week.
That way, we could run our tongues into the bottom of those little communion cups to get every drop of grape juice for a little heat relief.
Now, don’t laugh.
Just like being a shepherd in a bathrobe at Christmas, all those little things were wrapped in our personal bundle of religion.
We had a conscience that always told us when we were doing wrong and was on the verge of getting into trouble.
That’s how we ’wuz raised.
Somewhere in the late 1950s, folks just plain slipped. Maybe fell flat is a better description.
Times were good and just about everybody who wanted to work had a job and some pocket change to jingle.
Isn’t it strange how “good times” sometimes prove to be the “bad times?”
All of this newfound freedom to do what we wanted to do started drawing folks away from their neighborhood house of worship.
Then when we got there, all we did was complain about how stiff necked church was, with “old so and so” putting on airs.
Church is like families, businesses and civic organizations. We tend to fall out with others and quickly find fault when we don’t get our way.
So what do we do then? Why, we just find a new church where we will get our way.
More than likely, what put that new church on the map was a falling-out somewhere down the line. People tend to gather with others who share similar perspective, be it for real or imagined reasons.
Now if you’re sitting around right now trying to figure out where to go eat lunch today, you might want to pick up the new phone book.
I have an idea for you; instead of turning to page 226 in the yellow pages, turn to page 86. Scan the list that starts under the chiropractor ads just like you would in looking for a nice restaurant.
When you select one to your fancy, visit it, look it over, even speak to some of those other “diners” to get a real feeling for the place. There should be some waiters to help you get what you’re looking for.
If you see me there, introduce yourself before or after the spiritual bread-breaking. I’ll be glad to shake your hand.
And if it fills you up, come back next week for a second helping. If you still aren’t sure, try it a third time.
You know, church isn’t a cure-all for every ailment, but it offers a peaceful balm that we all need, especially now.
Besides, I’d wager there are less battles in the church on the corner than in the neighborhood bar. I guarantee you’ll feel a lot safer.