There was a couple in a church where I once served, who were going through a really difficult time in their marriage, and they stopped coming to worship. I ran into her at the grocery, and you know how people think of the pastor as the attendance police. So, she starts trying to explain why they haven’t been there. Then she said, “I can’t keep pretending that everything’s okay, when it’s not okay.”
How sad that she would think that she had to pretend in order to belong in the church? It’s sad, because Jesus said pretty clearly that he didn’t come to call on the righteous – on those who pretend to have it all together. No, he came for all the rest of us – those who know they are not perfect.
It’s also sad because I think about all the other people in that church, who had gone through struggles in their own relationships. And how many of them that would have sat with the couple and ministered to them and been strength and hope to them – no matter what happened in their marriage.
When things are rough, there can be a tendency to pull away from community – to withdraw and try and cope alone. But, when we isolate ourselves from others we leave room for bitterness and cynicism to grow. Alone it’s easy to lose perspective.
The scriptures teach us that God created us to live in community. We actually need each other in order to be healthy and whole.
If you have not done so, I pray that you would give yourself fully to a family of faith. No, it’s not always easy – but it’s rich. I believe very deeply that the more you give of yourself – your true self – no masks, no pretending, the more you will receive – and the deeper your faith will grow.
Let us pray: We can only imagine, Lord, the depths of your love for us. You created us all different. And yet you have called us to belong to each other, to care for each other, to work with each other to make this world a better place. Give us the courage we need to share the deepest, most valuable part of our lives with your people. Nourish us, strengthen us, and then send us out as your servants. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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