Thanks to Pastor Jerry Nuernberger for allowing me to share his blog. Jerry is the pastor of The First Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Greensburg, PA, and his post really spoke to my heart about the judging that goes on by some of us regular church-goers as it relates to those who aren’t so regular. Please read and let’s think about his challenging comments, especially as Easter approaches.
Thanks to Clint Hurdle as well, who in addition to admirably serving as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, also operates a wonderful ministry of encouragement, www.ClintHurdle.com. Clint is the one who directed my attention towards Pastor Jerry.
|The Bungee Cord, March 30, 2017
If you are one of those Christians who are in the habit of only coming to church on Christmas and Easter, we, who come much more regularly owe you an apology. Seriously.
You see, there are some of us have given you a name, and it isn’t a name of endearment. Some of us call you “C and E” Christians, counting and pointing out in disdain the times you are in worship with us. We are sorry for naming you such.
You see, there are some of us who look down on you saying that your faith is more watered down than ours and that you are a poor example of the Christian faith, compared to us, that is. We are sorry for looking down our spiritual noses at you.
You see, there are some of us who look at the expenses that we incur to keep the doors of the church open and we say that if only those part-time “C and E” Christians would carry more of their load it would be a lot easier on the rest of us “full time” Christians. We are sorry for looking upon your pocketbook, rather than you.
You see, there are some of us who don’t like it when you come on Christmas and Easter, and you crowd the church, and we have to get there early to make sure that we get our seats. When we see you in our seats we say to ourselves, and sometimes to you, “I am here every week, and this is my seat. I have earned it.” We are sorry for what poor hosts we have been.
You see, there are some of us who don’t mind at all that you are sitting in overflow sections when you come to worship on Christmas and Easter, convinced that it is obvious that your faith is not that important to you, so you are sitting where you belong. We are sorry for our arrogance.
The fact of the matter is that you who bear the name Christian are full-blooded brothers and sisters, and I, for one, am delighted that in spite of the eyes of judgement that you sometimes get when you come to worship, you still come. I am delighted to see your smile. I am delighted to hear your voice. I am delighted to embrace you with the peace of the Lord. I am delighted to kneel beside you at the Lord’s table. And I know that I am not alone. Many are likewise delighted to see you on Christmas and Easter.
Of course, I would love to see you more often, just as families who are bonded in love but spread abroad wish they could see each other more often. We wonder how you are doing. We would like to be a more caring part of your life. We need the compassion of your heart and your shoulder to lean on, because for some of us your heart and your shoulder are most secure. You add joy to our lives, and the celebrations that we have are less fulsome without you.
And when it comes to our faith compared to yours, fissures of doubt flow through our faith, too. Times of incongruence between our faith and our lives are part of us, too. Toxic thoughts eat away at our faith, too. There are also times in our lives when faith is very hard to find. When you get right down to it, when we come to church, we, like you, come to have our faith deepened, not because of the deepness of our faith.
Easter is April 16, and I look forward to seeing you there. I look forward to taking part with you in the event that forever changed the universe, and forever changed your life and mine; the resurrection of Jesus. I look forward to looking you in the eye and speaking words of hope, hope beyond the imagination of our minds, “Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!” I look forward to watching God take hold of your heart and mine, leading us through every day of life, and leading us back into his house Sunday after Sunday to work the Easter miracle of amazing grace in your life and mine.
Have a great week.
God’s grace and peace, (ggap)
Pastor Jerry Nuernberger
Phil Henry is a financial adviser and also an ordained minister who founded and produces short videos and blogs at Phil Henry Power Gospel.