Summary: An encouragement to serve remembering where the strength to serve comes from.
“Care Givers of the Cure Giver”
October 21st, 2001
Many churches open their worship services with a responsive call to worship that goes like this: The pastor calls to the congregation, “The Lord be with you”, and then the people respond, “and also with you.” Responses such as these become a comforting habit to everyone. So much of a habit that sometimes we respond automatically, even when the response may not be very appropriate.
I know of a preacher who always begins his worship services with “The Lord be with you”, and the people know to respond, “and also with you”. But one Sunday as the preacher stood in the pulpit he realized that the microphone wasn’t on. And so, looking up at the sound man he declared, “There’s something wrong with this microphone”, and the congregation responded “and also with you”.
That wasn’t exactly how he intended to begin worship, but it was certainly the truth. Not only is there something wrong with him, there is something wrong with us too. We all come to this worship service as if we are carrying some kind of heavy baggage.
For some of us the bags we carry are so old that they are worn and frayed, but they are still heavy and still cause us to drag. Maybe that old bag is full of childhood memories of an abusive parent. Maybe the bag we carry is of the loss of a loved one, or the failure of a marriage, or even a business failure, they all weigh heavily on us.
Or the bag you have brought with you today may be something you picked up on the way, a brand spanking new bag. Maybe you read the paper this morning and there saw the latest atrocity. Maybe on the way here you dozed for a moment at the light and the fella behind you proclaimed to the world in horn and sign language your momentary lapse.
For many of you parents there are too many Sundays when the morning begins with a contest of wills between you and your kids. You win when you get them here, even if it is late, but you lose because they are stinkers the whole time. All of us who have had children understand. We all want our children to be in church, but sometimes it’s almost too much.
Baggage, something that’s wrong, a pain that tints the day gray and taints the best smile. We all have our baggage. We do because we all live in a fallen world. And that world starts dumping on us almost before we can walk. That’s why the Lord gave us the church, to help us with the baggage.
Little Linus was watching cartoons when sister Lucy came into the room and demanded he change the channel to her favorite. Linus said to her, “What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?” “These five fingers”, says Lucy. “Individually they are nothing, but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold.” “What channel do you want?” asks Linus. Turning away, he looks at his fingers and says, “Why can’t you guys get organized like that?”
The best description I ever heard for the church is that it’s a hospital organized for sinners. We are not perfect. Just like all the rest of the world, we are hurt people, and we hurt people. But thanks be to God, at least we know the grace of Christ, and are doing our best to be graceful to each other and to our neighbors.
Church should be a place where there is hope, where there is relief. Church should be the place where you can come and know that you are loved and important. Church should be a place where one day you will be able to take some of that baggage and, with God’s help, shove it in the dumpster of forgetfulness. St. Timothy is not always that church, but most of the time we are giving it our best shot.
The task of being the church of Jesus Christ is a huge challenge. So many people, so much need, so much hurt. We do our human best. Here at St. Timothy we have so many people dedicated to helping. Twenty-five shepherds, 7 active Stephen Ministers and 10 others in reserve, 11 Elders, 9 Deacons, 25 + Sunday School Teachers, and 12 committee chairs with dozens and dozens of hard working members.
We do our human best to be the church our Lord wants us to be. But if that’s all we do, our human best, then we are doomed to fail because we are just human, and just as needy as the people we seek to serve. What we need is a miracle, and that’s exactly what the Lord wants to do in us, but first we must trust him.