Saturday, May 19, 2012
Saturday Sermonette - Do You See Me?
A number of years ago, my cousin and his wife began attending a church. They enjoyed going there for several months until my cousin's wife suddenly lost her mother. She was unable to go to her mother's funeral thousands of miles away in another country. Grieving, and yet...
Not one person from the church went up to Aida or even called to offer condolences. Not one. My cousin and his wife stopped attending the church.
Just one incident, obviously not in our town or church, you say.
Fast forward to just a couple of years ago. My husband and I went to a resort town we've often visited, this time at Christmas. Usually, we would try to spend Christmas with one of the kids, but each had their own "other half" family occasions. We looked through the local newspaper to see if any had a Christmas Eve service. One did.
We showed up probably about 15 minutes early. People rushed here and there preparing for the service. The pastor hesitated as he trotted from one side of the narthex to the other, and he threw us a "hello" as he hurried past.
Not one other person acknowledged that strangers were in their midst. They were busy chatting and laughing with their friends and families or getting ready for the presentation. We sat through the service, stood feeling a little lost for a time afterwards, and finally left.
What no one knew--both my husband and I were feeling lonely for our family. What no one bothered to find out--I was so near tears I felt embarrassed. It had been only a year since one son died. It was the most unhappy Christmas I've ever spent anywhere.
That human connection is so important. One of the things I love about our church is how welcoming we are to strangers.