Yesterday I talked about my vision for the church in Childress. Let me continue those thoughts today with a dream I have for this church.
About a week ago I did something I usually don’t do. I looked to see what the men serving communion were wearing. This used to be an issue years ago. I’m glad we’re passed it. I had a woman a few years back mention that “so-in-so” was not wearing proper clothes while serving at the table. She also mentioned that one of the young men could have used a haircut. Finally, she closed with, “And there were some people talking during communion.”
I had heard her complaints many times before and I’d been very kind and gracious to her, but that morning for some reason, she caught me at a weak moment. “It’s obvious,” I told her, “if you have that much time to look around and take notes of who is doing what during the Lord’s Supper, then you are not focusing on the things the Bible says that you need to be focusing on!” She took it remarkably well. I tried to explain to her that what you wear is not important and that she needs to be focusing on Jesus, and if she does she won’t even noticed who is waiting on the table or what they are wearing.
This past Sunday I noticed who was waiting on the table. We had ten men of all different ages serving communion. I thought it was interesting that 3 had on ties and dress pants, 1 had on a full suit, 4 had on a pullover polo shirt and khaki pants and two had on a t-shirt and jeans. I smiled and thought to myself, “It’s awesome that we can have a good mix of people waiting on the table and it doesn’t really matter what anyone is wearing.” Then it hit me. This wasn’t as good as I though it was. Somehow I was missing the big picture. The thing that would have made it better than a mix of ages and clothing styles, would have been a mix of backgrounds, colors and people. Everyone up there were middle class people that looked just like me. I asked God to forgive us and ask His blessing to please help us reach out to those who are different than us.
“It’s obvious,” I told her, “if you have that much time to look around and take notes of who is doing what during the Lord’s Supper, then you are not focusing on the things the Bible says that you need to be focusing on!”
I dream that as a church we will be as interested in reaching, loving and serving people different than us as we are in reaching the middle class white family that’s just moved to town. Jesus was the perfect example of this. He didn’t spend all his time with people just like himself. Instead he spent his time with the outcast, the different, the unloved and the lowly?
- The woman at the well. She was married five times and was shacking up with another man when she met Jesus. Yet Jesus found her incredibly important and salvation worthy.
- The thief on the cross. One of the greatest stories of grace, ever.
- The woman caught in adultery who Jesus told, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
- He ate with sinners. He taught the prostitutes. There were also the tax collectors, lepers, the demon possessed, the crippled, those of lower status… He offered them hope, the truth, and a way out of their misery.
I’m thankful that I look around the church where I worship and I’m beginning to see more people all the time who are different than me. I’m beginning to see people from different backgrounds not just skin color. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a 10 year old boy with us that had never been to church in his life. I thought that was amazing.
I want to worship with people who make some uncomfortable, people who look different and people who come from different backgrounds, not people who look just like me. Unfortunately, most of the people I see still look just like me. It is my conviction and dream to reach out to more people that are different than me. People who I’ve overlooked in the past.
What’s the makeup of where you worship?