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What are we bringing with us to church?

I was riding the bus to a meeting. As I was reaching into my briefcase to grab my headphones, I overheard a snippet of a conversation behind me.

Mike Denton Conference Minister

Two women were talking about their churches. It was a joy to hear them compare bible studies and worship and music. I loved hearing one of them talk about the good friends they’d made in at church.

The other woman talked about how the church she went to was mainly made up of “older people” but they’d adopted her children as though they were their own grandchildren. 

It sounded as though one of them went to a larger, more evangelical church but, “As far as I can tell, they seem to accept everybody.”

The other went to a medium-sized church, mainline sounding church and she wasn’t so sure about the congregation “But the pastor has a rainbow sticker on his old Volvo so…”

It was a lovely conversation to overhear. It made my day.

Mixed in with conversation was one statement many of us have heard before but I’ve been mulling around since.

As they were talking about their previous congregations, one of the women said, “I used to go to _____ and it was great but the preaching there just didn’t feed me.”

I get it. I mean, regardless of my best efforts I’ve preached more than one sermon of empty calories myself and I also know that when you connect with a well-preached sermon during worship there’s really nothing else quite like it.

With respect to every single preacher out there who sweats over every word and punctuation...

If, as a church attendee, we want to compare a sermon to a meal, it should be one of our smallest meals of the week.

The time we set aside to pray on Monday is more important.

The book or bible study you attend on Tuesday should be more filling.

The protest we participate in on Wednesday is a fulfillment of our vocation.

When we share openly during that walk in the woods with a good friend on Thursday, its good for them and feeds us.

The time reconnecting with friends or family on Friday night is a gift.

The difficult ethical work decision you make on Saturday is a way of living into your baptism.

You get the idea. Hearing a sermon may be an important part of your spiritual nourishment but if you only count on that, you can’t really blame the preacher for spiritual starvation.

I understand that good preaching is important but, in maintaining our spiritual health, it’s not nearly as important as spiritual practices throughout the week. 

If you’re missing something during this Sunday’s sermon, ask yourself:

Is that because of something that the pastor isn’t bringing to their sermon or something you’re not bringing with you to church?


PNC-UCC News - Copyright © April-May 2019




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