When I got the call at the lake that mama had died, I experienced some shock, some relief, some guilt, and just a mess of everything. It had been awhile since I had experienced a death of someone close to me. Oh, I have buried my share of people, and preached their services. But it just ain’t the same. When something hits that close to home a pastor needs to ditch the robe and collar and put on his or her street clothes, because you aren’t any different than anybody else. Death hurts.
Love heals. Yes, I have been overwhelmed by the response of my friends, our congregation, my home church, and my little town of Greeneville. Many words of wisdom came from my mama’s friends that comforted me and released me of some guilt. One of her cousins reminded me that she was 86 and I can’t stop death. Lordy I so needed to hear those words.
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes a village to live. One doesn’t know that until life gets too big to handle. Sometimes the village is too small and that is why we sit at His altar on Sunday and bow our head in prayer daily.
This event surely has reminded me and reinforced in me the importance of what it means to be a church. I recognize that we are connected to many groups in our lives. That, which connects us in the church community, addresses the bigger challenges of our lives. Challenges that are bigger than our common efforts together can overcome. In other words, there is power in praying and worshipping together.
I am pretty sure, if not darn well convinced, that the importance of worship is not a common feeling or belief in our society. The way that I came to that conclusion is simple – fewer and fewer people attend church. No matter how big the big churches get, the percentage of people who worship is dropping annually. I am not proposing a solution. I am simply sharing how much it meant to me. People have to decide how important it is to them or let it die.
What I am sure about is that this community of believers matters. You mean a great deal to me. I witness that you mean a great deal to each other. I hope and pray, as witnesses of Christ love, others can come to see the beauty of a worshipping community and join us in loving each other as well as our neighbors. I also pray that we might be reminded of how important it is for us to worship together, because the truth is life is bigger than all of us put together, but nothing can separate us from the love of God.
See you soon,