Seize the day or something like that.
Don’t you just hate those people who are so happy all the time. Nothing seems to get them down No matter how often you see them they are always perfectly dressed and have smile on their face. There lives seem to be a perfectly organised operation that never ever goes wrong. They attend all the right school functions, their kids are always clean and shine in the umpteen extra curricular activities they take part in. You look at their lives and then you own. Your smile is due to the copious amounts of coffee consumed, your children are always running out the door last second to school after yanking the school jumper out of the tumble dryer still slightly damp, trying to eat toast do up shoe laces and run at the same time so they are not late. My younger children have trouble trying to find matching shoes let alone socks. We are always at the school gate as it is about to close and forget the important bit of home work in the car or it is still on the window sill in the hall at home.
I always look at these other people and think ‘how do you do it’? You must collapse into bed every night shattered. But then as time goes by you listen to their conversations on how their children don’t talk to them, or the fact they never see them over the weekend.
There lives are so busy ‘doing’ they forget the ‘being’. Now I am not stupid enough to belive my kids can’t stand me sometimes but we thankfully all still get on really well. My mid teen daughter still enjoys hiding behind doors and jumping out on me trying to scare me. She still likes giving her old dad a hug in public. My son is about to enter his teens still likes to cuddle up with me on the sofa as we sit down to watch Top Gear re-runs or our guilty secret ‘Shaun the sheep’. My two little girls who are so close together they are always categorised as one. We enjoy playing stupid games and are constantly climbing over me wrestling or using me as a shield from each other.
It’s the same observations I have seen in church. ( not so much the odd socks).
There are churches that seem to have everything running perfectly. Full set of stage lights, rotating vertical screens for the words of the most recent worship songs, uniformed greeters at the door, every member of the leadership has published books. Two Sunday morning services of 600, three midweek prayer meetings,bible studies, women meetings, mother toddler groups, youth groups, the list goes on.
Then you have those churches that seem to hobble everything together at the last-minute, they sing with gusto in the praise session to hide the out of tune piano, that is held up by a pile of books and a guitar case. The sunday school class is held in the back of the Builders van, as the normal room is now knee-deep in water. And the preacher delivers his sermon with a raised voice as the microphone has sagged once more to his knees because the sellotape holding the mic stand up has decided to go elsewhere.
I always belive that you can see where somebody’s passion is by looking at three things. Their calendar, their conversation and their wallet.
It is the same with a church.
Have a look at the notices at a church and tick of the evangelistic gospel spreading events, and then tally them against the church outing events. Then listen to the conversations after the service, Now you will always get the normal sporting talk about someones favourite team, or the house extension saga. Ignore them it’s the church talk I like listening to, it’s the two couples talking about a mutual friend and who’s turn it is to invite them to the breakfast come little gospel talk on Saturday. The conversation about the visiting the elderly this week that didn’t make it to the notices and helping Mrs Crockett with her garden pond type conversations. But the one I always listen out for is the one about the Prayer meeting, I have sadly never heard a conversation saying that they are going to have to move to a bigger place because the prayer meeting is just so well attended people are having to sit on the floor in the hall outside.
Going back to my own Family we always make a concerted effort to talk with each other and everyday. We will always ask our children about their days and their worries. We also will talk to them about things in our lives that worry us. We might have to filter some of it or put a positive spin on some things with our children ageing from 6 to 14 some subjects of conversation are easier than others but we do talk, constantly.
And that is what God wants from us. When he created Earth and mankind before the fall he spoke to us daily and we to him. We live in a social media world with instant messages and hundreds of ways of communicating with each other. Yet with God we have always had an instant communication system. We don’t have to be computer savvy, we don’t have to pay a monthly fee, we don’t even need a ny special devices. We just need to talk.
Prayer, is nothing more than talking to God. Yet we seem to shy away from doing it. we have this belief that we must talk to God in special long words. I still don’t understand after nearly 20 years of being a Christian and attending a number of different churches why the prayer meeting is always the least attended. Of a Sunday service Preaching is given 30-45 minutes singing is given 10-15 minutes and prayer is relegated to a few slots totaling 5 minutes. Of the seven churches I have attended only one has had a pre-service prayer meeting, and that was attended by 8 people out of a congregation of 150..To be Christian is to be like Christ..so why when Christ spoke so openly about prayer and we read that he prayed often and lengthy do we as a christian church pray so little..