Friday, April 24, 2015
Now that things have calmed down in the parish. . .
Many pastors and parishes bristle at the prospect of folks like that showing up after missing most of the rest of the year (spring through the dead of winter). Some pastors spend their time in pulpits castigating those who just showed up after a nine month hibernation. Sometimes the people who are there every Sunday sneak a smile or two when the pastor really gives it to those slackers. I probably used to be one of them.
Now, well, not so much. I have softened a bit (maybe quite a bit). I have become a secret optimist. I not only hope but expect that some of them will be caught up in the spirit of the day by the Holy Spirit speaking through the voice of the Word and they will find their way back to their place at His table weekly. It does not happen often but it happens enough to encourage my hope against hope.
A friend once told me that he prefers to call the unchurched (or dechurched) those not yet of the kingdom. I like that. I believe that I may not live to see it or ever know the fruits of the Word the Lord planted through my ministry but I am confident that the Word will not return to Him empty handed. And I have see it happen enough to be excited by the prospect that the good news of the Lord's death and resurrection may just, by the Spirit's design, hit home again.
So if you are in a slump because the pews were full at Easter and now seem rather empty, do not give up hope. The Lord is entirely unpredictable except that He always errs on the side of grace and hope. So join Him in hoping and praying for those who came back after a lot hiatus from the Lord's House. God has turned many dead bones into lively folks. We need to stop conveying a sense of skepticism and doubt to the Lord and believe that what we preach and teach will accomplish the Lord's purpose. He is faithful and He will do it.