Day Six……..#moderndaydesertmother

Today there was a birthday party for a two-year-old. There was a cake, Elmo, snacks, singing, playing and laughter. Grandparents and great-grandparents were present. The parents chased after the two-year-old while the baby slept. Moments were captured on phones, tablets, and cameras. There was laughter, gift opening, and lots of baby hugs. It was a good day.
Outside it was raining. After the warmth of the indoor party to walk out into the cold rain was startling. It made me realize how long I had lived in a cold rain spiritually and was longing for warmth.
I am not talking about a connection with God but a connection with God’s people. Church, at its best, is a warm party full of baby hugs, memory capturing, and laughter. Church, at its best, is community and family where love isn’t reserved for only those who “are like us.” The Bible from beginning to end is quite clear about hospitality to others, taking care of those who are struggling and opening doors for those who are out in the cold. Why then, is this a skill we cannot seem to master?
A pretty picture and a handshake are not enough to convey hospitality. Too often in the church world our responses consist of, “Hey, the roof didn’t fall in,” “Where have you been?” and other phrases that often make an individual feel judged. Instead of saying, “You weren’t at the football game last night,” try saying, “Would you like to go with me to the football game?” We are so afraid of rejection that we cannot be hospitable. When someone comes along who challenges everything we are by their very existence, we work hard to shut them down, get rid of them, and make them appear as if they are the one who is wrong.
Churches think greeters at the door and passing the peace makes people feel welcome. Meanwhile, they gossip around town and mock their church staff and hyper-criticize to the point of stalking, run church services and groups with no thought of anyone but themselves – except at prayer request time and then new people must sit through an incredibly long boring period of hearing about people they do not know and all that is wrong with them. It is a “acceptable” form of gossip…….. and it is unwelcoming to those who have no clue who is being talked about and who is asking for the prayer. Then they blame the minister for why there are no new people in the church and why people are not attending.
Many churches are unwelcoming towards the minister and church staff and that is when serious problems begin. Our systems and leadership are set up in such a way that we are often unwelcoming towards each other as colleagues. When sandwiched between and unwelcoming church and an unhospitable system, clergy have no chance of fulfillment and ministry. Our leadership tells us not to accept from the churches the mindset of “but that is who it’s always been done,” and then when we have a problem, need something, or have an idea when we go to our leadership, we are told, “but that is not how we do things.” Hmmmmmm……..
At the heart of it all is a baby who had birthdays and whose mother stored away precious memories in her heart. But, often he is forgotten because people are too focused on themselves……..there is still no hospitality for the One born to save the world.
So, a spiritual advance in this modern age consists of any action you can do to show hospitality to Jesus, to yourself, and to those around you.

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.