Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: AGREE TO DISAGREE (05/04/17)
TITLE: Out with the Old?
By Sylvia Young
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“It’s Christian rock,” I explained patiently to my eighty-four-year-old grandmother. “A lot of people say it’s the best.”
She made a sound of displeasure with her throat. “Well, I wish your music pastor would include hymns in the line up. The words are so rich. They’re like a prayer. These new songs just keep repeating the same thing. It doesn’t help me focus on God.”
“Really? I feel the opposite. I don’t even know what some of those words are in hymns. For instance, what’s a diadem?”
Gran frowned. “It’s a…well, some kind of thing for royalty.”
“You don’t even know!” I accused. “How can the songs be meaningful when you don’t know the meaning?”
“That’s just one example. You’d be hard-pressed to find three more!” she fired back at me.
I tried, but she was right. “Okay, fine, but people these days don’t really respond to hymns. They’re…old-fashioned.”
“I guess that’s what I am too.” She glared at me a little. “That’s not the only thing. Your pastor is a bit too casual. He preaches like he’s chatting with a friend. That doesn’t inspire people.”
“You,” I corrected. “It doesn’t inspire you. I know plenty of people who get a lot from his message every single time. Pastors don’t have to use formal language to get their point across. In fact, sometimes I don’t even understand what your pastor is talking about!”
“Fat lot of good that higher learning got you if that’s how you feel. If a dummy like me, without even a high school education can understand, why can’t you?”
A sound came out of my mouth that was half sigh and half growl. “Thank a lot, Gran. Now you’re calling me stupid?”
I think she was about to say something like, “If the shoe fits…” but she must have realized that would be going too far.
“Darling boy,” she started instead, her voice like warm honey. I braced myself. She only did that when she was really about to lay it on. “I just don’t feel anything at your church. The music, the pastor, the distractions of high-tech gadgets… It's too showy.”
“Well, you don’t have to come again,” I replied tersely. “I just thought it would be nice for you to see where I go on Saturday nights.”
“And that’s another thing! Who ever heard of going to church on a Saturday night? Church is on Sunday morning at ten o’clock, eleven at the latest. And did you see how some people were dressed? I’m not even sure they were Christian.”
“Gran," I groaned, losing my patience. "These people love Jesus and serve Him with all their hearts. The youth go downtown to the homeless shelter on Saturday mornings. Each of the small groups supports a single mother in the community. We have ESL classes for newcomers to Canada and support groups for people struggling with addictions. God is being worshiped there. People are servants. It’s just different from what you’re used to. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong.”
She sniffed a little at the litany of righteous acts, but couldn’t argue. “I suppose you’re going to say that because my church doesn’t do any of those things, we aren’t as good.”
I shook my head. “The kids at your church sing to seniors and visit with them the last Friday of every month. You guys support a bunch of missionaries all around the world and faithfully pray for each one. You knit blankets and hats for the poor in other countries. You are also doing good work.”
“But they can’t both be right,” she argued. “They’re nothing alike!”
“Ah, Gran, if we all agree that Jesus is God’s Son and came to be a ransom for our sins, isn’t that the most important bit? The world is so needy. One set of Christians can’t serve everyone, and they aren’t even meant to.”
My words finally seemed to find a home as no further argument was immediately forthcoming. In the end, she gave a slow nod. “Alright then. Your church has its ways, and mine has theirs. And neither one is wrong?”
“Nope. They all love Jesus. And that’s all that matters, right?”
She sighed a little, pursed her lips together and took my hand.
“How did you get so wise, young man?” she asked.
I grinned at her, kissed her cheek and answered, “I had a good role model, Gran. The best.”
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