After 13 years serving a congregation you get to a point where you don't have the energy to play church. You get real. You get honest.
This weekend was one of those days when we talked, in worship, about some real stuff.
You can tell when the message is getting close to the hearts of people, you can tell when you are shaking some of the foundations and assumptions of peoples' lives, because they get very, very quiet.
This weekend it was like people had stopped breathing.
We were talking about how determined Joseph and Mary were to love their son, and introduce him to the God who loves him with everything he has. They had their son circumcised and named on the 8th day after his birth. They took him all the way to Jerusalem 40 days after his birth for the Jewish ritual of purification. They took their son to synagogue every week. They told him the stories of the faith.
A look at attendance patterns in our Sunday school shows the children from our most active families are present about once every three weeks. So we talked about this. We talked about how parents fool themselves into thinking their children are getting a spiritual foundation when we are only around enough to give our children spiritual quicksand.
I challenged parents to make God a commitment -not an afterthought. I reminded them that if they are here now and then, their child is always going to feel like an outsider...a stranger. I spoke to those who are sort of on the fence about being here because they have heard of a better nursery or children's ministry or youth center or teaching ministry in another church down the road. I said what most pastors would say: "If your heart is somewhere else, then go! Don't stay on the fence, sort of here and sort of not, because you're not helping your children...our church...or the other place. Go! Be all in or all out...but make a decision!"
It was quiet.
Sometimes silence is good, I think.
The people attending the synagogue in Nazareth, when Jesus preached from the prophet Isaiah, tried to kill him. They didn't like what he was saying.
No one threw a shoe today. No crowd tried to throw me off the sledding hill at Oxbow Park.
It was just quiet.
And I think that is okay.