No Mannequins in Church, PLEASE!
Did you hear the stories at last Sunday’s Baptism Celebration? WOW! Stories of real people finding their way back to the God who made them. Stories that inspire and challenge. Which brings me to a little rant, if I may.
I often hear a conversation around Seneca Creek. It sounds like this. “I haven’t been around for a while because I was going through a really tough time…” And “tough time” could be a bout of depression, a serious marital problem, a relapse into a bad habit, foray into forbidden activity, or an unexpected setback or loss.
When I hear this, there’s a part of me that wants to SCREAM! Because the way I understand the church that Jesus started, it was full of people who were going through a “tough time.” Through relationship failures. Through bad habits. Through forbidden activities. Through setbacks and losses and persecution and health problems and more. And they understood that all those reasons and more were precisely why they needed to band together. They needed to encourage one another. They needed their strength renewed, their mission re-focused, and their vision of God restored. The concept of avoiding gathering together when things went south would have been utterly nonsense to them!
So how did we get here? It’s a longer story than this blog has room for, but the short version of it is this. We often gather to worship together as mannequins. We strike the right pose, put on the right expression, wear the right outfits, and portray the right attitude. And in a room full of mannequins, the pressure to conform to mannequin-ism is powerful. I might even suggest it’s demonic.
The church is not for mannequins. It’s for real people. The stories last Sunday were just the tip of the iceberg, because we all have stories. This is not a plea to share them with everyone. Please. Just a reminder that Sundays are a time when real people, with real stories, come together to worship the real God, and offer real encouragement to one another.
Maybe you’ve wondered if you’re in a good enough place to join us. You are. Trust me. I know myself, and I know the staff, and I know the leadership here. We’ve all got stories. If Seneca Creek isn’t a place where you can come as you are, then we should all go find another church.
And maybe you’re in a very good place, and wondering if you even NEED to join us. You do. Trust me. Because each of us has the God-given ability to offer a smile, a handshake, a hug (if you’re the hugging type), a word of encouragement, or a helping hand. We don’t just meet on Sundays to get a new idea, or insight. We meet as brothers and sisters, adopted into God’s family. The person who you sit down next to just might have wandered in for the first time. They might have lost a job, or a spouse, or an unborn child, or a parent, or their health. They may be wondering if Seneca Creek is just for mannequins, or if there is really HOPE for them. Will you offer them HOPE?
Let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
P.S. Thanks for letting me rant.
Posted on May 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
I’ve always said that there is a reason that the big meeting room in most churches is called a “sanctuary”. It’s a safe room where people can take off their masks that they show to the world and be real. If no one knows what you are going through then they can’t be there to help you out (and conversely, if you don’t know what others are going through then you can’t be a blessing to them). Just sayin’…
I’ve been through ‘tough times’ — I’m going through one now, in fact — and, at times, have not felt like coming to church. But I still come, and I always find that it was exactly what I needed. Being among fellow believers and participating in corporate worship (and, of course, hearing Mark’s wonderful messages and teachings) helps to put things in their proper perspective.
I came to Seneca Creek at probably one of the lowest points in my life, having lost my mother, relocated from my home in NY and knowing only my sister and her family. Seneca Creek embraced my broken heart and helped me to heal. I believe it is our responsibility as Christians to reach out to those who are going through rough times and be their support and strength!