Aug 1, 2009

Going for a joy ride...

Two police deputies in Plain City, Utah had quite a scare.  Dispatchers received a report of a car being driven recklessly last Sunday morning.  Witness said the car had driven through a stop sign.   The police located the Dodge Intrepid in an area about 45 miles north of Salt Lake City.  When the police caught up with the car, the driver stopped the car in a driveway and ran inside a home.  What drew me to the story was that the driver was a 7-year old boy.  But what really grabbed my attention was why the boy was going for a joy ride in the first place.  According to the police, he was trying to avoid going to church!

I can relate to this young man.  You see I used to spend my summers with my grandparents in Glendale, Arizona.  On Sunday mornings my grandmother would wake me so that I could go to church.  But I didn't like her church.  All the kids in Sunday school knew each other and I was the outsider.  As much as they tried to make me feel at home, I still felt different and out of place. So many times on Sunday morning, I would fake being too tired.  When my grandmother would come into the bedroom to try to get me up, and I would lie in bed pretending I was too tired.  Eventually, she would leave and I would get up.  I'm so glad she didn't have an extra car in the driveway...

You and I are drawn to church for a number of reasons.  We like worship, we like honoring God on His holy day, or we like the impact our church can make on our community.  But when it comes down to it, one of the biggest reasons we keep coming back week after week is the strong relationships that are forged.  You simply can't beat a good Christian friend.  

But close friendships are a double-edged sword – the deeper our church friendships, the harder it is for outsiders to “fit in”.  When we get to church after a long, tortuous week, we are filled with joy to find a friend to share with.  That is natural and right.  The unintended consequence of a closely-knit church is that newcomers may feel our church is too close for them to ever fit in.  

But Jesus was always looking for the outsider.  Make no mistake, he had close friends – but He never let those close friendships get in the way of ministering to the lost, broken, despaired, or weak.  That includes you and me.

Blessings,

Pastor David Hook