Life was not going very well. He left his recently emptied home Monday morning for his commute to work. The sign in the front of the church building near his neighborhood read, “Come here for a blessing.”
Somehow Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were even worse than Tuesday. And the echoes in the empty house seemed to laugh at him. By Thursday, when he saw the phrase, “Come here for a blessing,” he was ready for a blessing.
So, Sunday morning, he found himself pulling his sedan into the parking lot. The attendants flagged him through the parking lot and into a space. The man at the door smiled and handed him a folded piece of paper. As he was going to say something to the man, the man turned toward the family behind him to hand them some folded pieces of paper.
As he paused inside the door, he marveled at the hive of activity that he found. The family behind him pushed past and found a pew. He sat beside them by the aisle. The husband of the family nodded, then turned toward his folded piece of paper. So, he looked at his paper, too. At the top of the paper were the words, “The Blessing of God.”
Good. He needed a blessing.
They began to pass big metal plates across the pews. The man at the front said that those who gave money would be blessed. So, he reached in his wallet to get some money. He really wanted to be blessed, so he thought twice and gave a little more.
Then, everyone was leaving. He turned to the husband of the family. The husband shook his hand, and said, “It’s great to meet you.” As he was preparing to ask about being blessed by God, the family made their way past him and out the door. He stood there for a moment and a few people nodded at him. One man shook his hand.
Slowly he made his way back out the door and to his car. He drove back home. He did everything they asked. He went to church. He sang the songs. He gave his money. He listened to the speech. He said the prayer. Was he blessed?
He cried himself to sleep that night in his empty bed.
The next morning, the sign in front of the church building read, “Come here for a new life.” He wondered if that was a lie too.
So painfully true. Having gone to church since young, I have always been surrounded by the same faces, the same friends. We were a clique, our own comfort zone. We talked about going out, spreading God's Word, getting people to come to church. We had nativity plays, invited people to watch our staged 'concerts', yet we treated them as visitors, not friends. They came back, perhaps the next year.
I wonder now how many of those people truly wanted to know Christ. I wonder how many of them had the thirst, but were chased away by my lack of attention, my selfishness. Caught up in a whirlpool of 'me', I wonder just how many of these people have been deluded by our 'faith'.
Is church just another place for us to socialize on Sundays?