Last night at work I was listening to my boy, Matt Chandler, via "The Village Church" podcast on my iPod and thought he made some interesting remarks.
He said that going to church and "trying" to be a "good Christian" is a horrible hobby. Trying to keep enough rules to be ok with God, trying to be good enough to make those around you happy and so on, is a horrible hobby. If it isn't out of love for Christ and an act of worship, it's drudgery. Admit it, he's right. I've been there, you've been there, we've all been there, I think, if we're honest.
He said it's like "Halloween" every week.
You put on your "Christian face," get all dressed up and pretend to be something you're not. When asked "how's it going?" you respond "good brother, praise the Lord." Then you walk away knowing you just lied and deep down in your heart you wish you could have told him the truth, sat down, and got some prayer.
Let's be honest about who we really are. We are born-again, Holy Spirit regenerated, Christ followers and Christ worshipers who struggle to live holy lives and battle against the enemy every day of our existence. We are men who everyday must be ready for battle the minute our feet hit the floor. We must be ready to fight at a moments notice for our souls, our families, and our God!
Although we can fool everyone in church, we cannot fool the one who presides over the church. Jesus sees us for who we really are. So why do we pretend on Sunday mornings? Why can't we just be who we are? Sinners saved by God's amazing grace!
Robert Robinson wrote about this in his hymn, "Come Thou Fount," with these words; "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, o take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above."
Does your heart betray you everyday like mine does ? You know the life you want to live, but you feel so prone to wander. Does the church invite the "messy" people like me in? Or do we have Halloween every week? Do Pastors set the example of how to repent of sin, cry out to God for mercy, and plead with the Lord to make us more like Christ every week from the pulpit? Or do they seem so untouchable that the only way to seem anything like them is to fake it, like many of them do? On the streets of Chicago this is called perpetrating, or false flagging. Pretending to be something you're not.
In the end, in some way, I guess we all play church on Sundays. Lord knows I do. Wouldn't want to disrupt the culture you know. If people really knew me for who I am inside they probably wouldn't like me very much. And if I knew them for who they really are, I probably wouldn't like them very much. So I guess we'll go on having Halloween every week in order to "keep the peace." After all, isn't that what good church folk do? God help us...