I am not worried about the long term future of the Church. It has been perverted and used by various people throughout history and it continues to survive after thousands of years. On the other hand, the short term prognosis for this congregation, for the Presbyterian Church, and for the entire Church of Jesus Christ tends toward ruin.
On a typical Sunday this congregation has a better attendance record than other congregations that I have served; our attendance nearly reaches 50% of the Active Membership. On Easter and Christmas, our attendance nearly reaches two-thirds of the Active Membership. You might object, noting that our Active Membership includes people who are out of town or unable to attend worship due to physical infirmity. On any Sunday, and especially on major holy days, our attendance includes several people who have not yet decided to commit to making this congregation their church home. So why is attendance so low?
Recent surveys of Americans show that nearly everyone believes in God, and an overwhelming majority claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Yet three out of every four people have something else to do on Sunday and other financial priorities instead of giving to the Church.
While a few people might be so disgruntled about a previous church experience as to actively seek to marginalize the church we do much damage ourselves through neglect. Think about the last book you read, movie you watched, television program you regularly enjoy. How many of those characters considered worship an important part of their identity? The entertainment industry has not conspired against the church, they are merely giving us what most most people want. If Americans expected fictional characters to have a vibrant faith, we would see that regularly.
The words Isaiah was given to preach are again being fulfilled.
Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.
None-the-less, this passage for Trinity Sunday, May 27th in the year or our Lord 2018, like all Scripture, offers a word of hope.
On this Sunday, we begin our Summer schedule, worshiping only at 10 AM.
Robert Shaw, Pastor
The choir thoroughly enjoyed singing John Stainer’s Crucifixion. Thus when John 3:16-17 came up in the lectionary we chose his chorus “God So Loved the World” for the anthem. Under the direction of Kavan Gillespie the choir will again attempt this unaccompanied, allowing the breaks in the music to emphasize critical phrases in this well known passage of Scripture.
A Tip for Parents
Who in the whole world does God love?
We tend to draw circles of who is in and who is out. Starting with a picture of the earth point to a few nations and ask: Does God love the people in Canada? China? Madagascar? Peru? Russia? Spain? The United States? Once they figure out that the answer is yes, try a few sports teams: Lighting? Penguins? Rangers? The hardest circles might be: their friends? The class clown? The bully?
John 3:16-17 provides a full answer:
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!