So I was talking to this guy and when he found out I was a pastor he hesitated. “I suppose that’s all right,” he said, “But you need to know I have a real problem with organized religion.”
“Well, then you definitely should check out First Presbyterian of Marion,” I replied, “Because we are about as disorganized as you possibly can be.”
That’s an old joke that has been around for ages, but like most humor there is an element of truth there. Does it ever seem like the Church, whether FPC or any other, falls just shy of what it could really be? If we could just get organized, get our act together, we could do so much. But it always seem like we come close but just miss the mark. The results are not as good as we expected. We did not quite meet the budget. We were a bit short handed. If we could just get organized…
But as I study the New Testament I think the Church has always been this way. It is clear on more than one occasion that Jesus was very frustrated with the disciples and how thickheaded they seemed to be. Yes, the day of Pentecost was exciting and transformative, but it didn’t take long before there was squabbling and hard feelings between the believers. Paul’s letters certainly show that there were lots of problems in the early churches. And since then? Well, the history of the Church is not something to be proud of.
But then again, this seems to be the way God set things up. God does not insist that only perfect, smart, holy, beautiful people can be a part of God’s church. When Jesus was here on earth he spent a lot of time with very imperfect, very unholy people. That affected the way the Church turned out to be. We are a body made up of very human individuals, a mixed up bunch who are both saint and sinner at the very same time. If God is content with God’s church being this way, I guess I should be okay with it too.
This Sunday I am preaching on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. It is one of Jesus’ parables about things getting all mixed up. My sermon title is “Weed ‘em and Reap.” Karen Pierce will be playing her hammer dulcimer. That is always a special treat. So you will want to be in worship on Sunday.
Stay in One Peace!