i don’t know about everybody else’s church family, but we were pretty sure that a big chunk of our folks were heading out-of-town for the holiday. for larger churches, that probably doesn’t change the personality of the sunday morning experience much. for us, though, it can be a pretty dramatic shift.
so i usually prepare for it. it’s seldom a bad thing. in fact, some of our out-of-the-ordinary sundays have made for some of the coolest memories i have at north point. but i still don’t want to be surprised.
but today was different. i could tell from the moment people started arriving. even though we had fewer people coming through the door, the ones who were coming in were acting different. it was like everyone who walked in the building really wanted to be there.
i mean really wanted to be there.
now we are seldom a church family that just goes through the motions when we get together on sundays. but this was different even for us.
people were genuinely happy to see each other. they were gregarious. they were outgoing. conversations lingered longer than normal. before the service began.
(this may not have been true for every person…but it was definitely true from my angle.)
and it wasn’t just our “regular” people. in fact, we were missing a boat-load of people we normally see every sunday. no…the friendliness and warmth was coming from new and old alike… and visitors and extended family in town for the holiday and even people who are usually pretty reserved whenever they show up.
it was just a crazy, unexpected thing. and i wish we saw it every sunday.
i will be the first one to tell you that i hate church fake. fake smiles and obligatory handshakes and the unwillingness to be honest with struggle…the kind of stuff churches are notorious for. i don’t think church meetings are supposed to be happy factories. far from it.
but they do need to be places where normal people (the kind with problems and imperfections) are genuinely glad to see each other…and show it by the way they act to close friends and newcomers alike.
we need to have church meetings full of grace and humility and a large dose of laughter. and everybody needs to play a part in making that happen.
so let’s surprise each other next week.