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One Sunday during announcements, I mentioned my sermon next week would be entitled “What Is Hell?” I followed that by saying
“Come early and listen to our choir practice.” At least the congregation knew what I meant—and laughed along with me at my unintended error.
How easy it is to say the wrong thing or take what somebody says the wrong way. With e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, it seems like we have more ways to communicate than ever, but in reality there is never anything as good as talking with someone face to face. I have found trying to talk about a problem with e-mail is not very productive because people can take your words the wrong way.
Jesus was about relationships: seeing people face to face, being with people in the flesh, breaking bread together and hanging out with them. I think that is one of the wonderful things that the church can offer people is a community where you can be with people face to face, laughing and crying together and experiencing the love of Christ. You can’t get that experience on Facebook. If you find yourself disconnected from others and want to be nourished in love and grace, find a church.
When I became the pastor at Crittenden Christian, I said I was going to wear jeans on Sunday because I wanted people to feel like they could “come as they are” and not worry about what they have to wear if they come to church. I think that is one of the reasons people stay away from church, because they worry about being judged for how they look when they come. We like Facebook and e-mail because it can be a little impersonal and people can’t see what we look like, which makes it kind of safe, but in reality it stops us from connecting to people in a meaningful and rich way. Jesus wants us to be in relationship with him and others—face to face, smile to smile!
If you feel like you need to have more love and grace in your life, find a church where people will greet you face to face and soul to soul.
(Jerry Zehr is is the pastor of Crittenden Christian Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)