For the last few Sundays I’ve filled the pulpit for a small church that has lost its critical mass. Attendance has dwindled to a faithful few, all of whom are running out of energy. Not a happy situation. Still, when I enter the church building, I feel a sense of welcome and warmth from the folks who are keeping the place afloat.
Last Sunday we had visitors, an older couple, tall and friendly-faced.
I was walking through an unfamiliar residential neighborhood to get some exercise, going at a good clip when I was brought to a sudden halt because the sidewalk disappeared. A certain establishment had not installed sidewalks along its considerable property line. The name of the establishment? Health Network. I could not continue my healthy walk past the Health Network, but had to turn around.
Sometimes I think this is what the church must seem like to people outside the church—an establishment that says one thing on its sign, and another thing by its behavior.