Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)
Honestly, I didn’t know ‘they’ had a name. Now, as I have traveled around Christian circles, I hear it used quite often. It is another one of our cute little Christian phrases. If you are a regular church-attender, you know the label well. That is what we (those who attend church regularly) call those who attend church only on the BIG days, Christmas and Easter.
They look unfamiliar to our very familiar surroundings. They seem a little apprehensive. They don’t know where the restrooms are located. They do not know that there is a crying room for rowdy babies. They might even have the boldness to sit in our pew (gasp). They might stand when they should be sitting or kneeling. They might look a little confused when the pastor says to turn to the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. They pass the offering plate the wrong way. They are all dressed up but seem not to fit into the mold. They don’t fellowship with the usual circles, as we smile casually and offer a handshake.
Our large brick sign outside says, “all welcome”, but do we really mean it? Is church so routine, to so many that we cast out those who make the effort to make the ‘big days’. God gets them there and then we try to put on spiritual airs to make sure that they know we GO THERE ALL THE TIME….oh how bad we want them to know that. We don’t want them to think this is our only time to grace the presence of the church altar. We don’t wear buttons that say, “regular church - attender” but oh boy do our actions speak so loud and clear.
Have you ever had to be new in a situation? It is such an uncomfortable feeling. How much courage and stepping out in faith does it take for those people to come twice a year? They want to feel what we feel, they want to know what we know and they want to experience what it is that keeps bringing us back week after week. That is what motivates them to get their families up and moving on those holidays and bring them to a ‘special place’. And what do we do? We ridicule and make jokes about the increase in volume and the need to make room for those who only come on the big days. Shame on us.
We should feel remorse if we have ever passed a judgmental glance at those who only attend our services on the big calendar days. We should embrace them and make them feel completely comfortable and welcomed. The church should offer a class on how to make “Chr-Easters” feel the radiating love of God.
From the chorus of Love Found A Way by Wayne Watson, Man in the Middle album, 1982, we can learn:
Love found a way,
Love found a way,
And our hearts can hold,
The price love chose to pay,
All hope was gone ‘til Easter’s dawn,
We are fee because,
Love found a way
Come on, dear fellow believers, let us not label our friends who are looking for that one special love on Christmas and Easter. Jesus did not suffer on the cross so we can act arrogant on Easter. They will believe the resurrection when they see us displaying it in our pews. Throw away the ‘regular attender’ chart and pass out hugs to the unfamiliar faces instead of gold stars to the familiar ones.
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