Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grace


"Grace is the face that love wears when it meets imperfection."
— Joseph R. Cooke

There is a reason I wasn't on the debate team. There is a reason I was hired to write the football stories for the newspaper. I am a much better writer than I am a... well, talker. In most situations, I need time to get my thoughts together and prepare a proper response to avoid sounding like a blithering idiot. Unfortunately, in the real world, that is rarely feasable. So there comes that moment when it is necessary to speak up; when wrong is so loud that it must be countered with right however goofy the words may come out.
Last Sunday night was such a moment.

Our church is going thru what can only be euphemistically called a rough patch. Some in our small congregation have voiced their concerns over our pastor's leadership ability and organizational skills. Where this fits in the biblical scheme of things I am still trying to understand. Valid concerns, maybe. Reason to take a man's job away from him and displace his family, oh heck no!

Sunday night we voted on a proposal to allow this man the time he needed (6 months) to show the congregation his commitment to become a better pastor. He humbly thanked people for bringing these issues to his attention, he apologized for not being the leader he should be, and he presented a plan of action to address his flaws. Many of us spoke on his behalf, most more eloquently than I ever could. We asked for patience. We asked for grace. Some spoke of the feeling of 'coming home' when they first entered our church. Some reminded the detractors that ultimately one's salvation and continued growth in the Lord was dependent not on a good rousing sermon, but on one's own heart and desire to do God's will.

After all was said and done the vote favored giving this man a chance to fix the issues he felt he was weak in....whew. But now what? Can the church recover? How comfortable will it be for those who didn't get their way to sit in church week after week waiting for the changes to materialize? And will our comments in the meeting continue to echo in each other's minds? Will our adverserial stances tend to divide us into supporters and detractors? Will the detractors even stick around? I guess only time will tell.

For me personally, this was my very own wake-up call. I have not attended church regularly in years. I have not attended church regularly since one of my best friends lost 2 children in less than a year in seperate car accidents, and another's son committed suicide. My inability to reconcile a loving God with grieving parents has often left me unable to find meaning in God's purpose. I struggle to find joy in the word and sometimes am completely incapable of 'singing to the Lord' with any kind of sincerity. My saving grace was that I too felt that going to this particular church was like coming home.
As hard as it is to get into the pew on a Sunday morning, it is always worth it. And it gets easier every time I go. It's not a perfect church but I'm not a perfect church-member, so it is a perfect fit.


My hope and prayer is that the thru adversity we grow stronger as a church and as a congregation.

4 comments:

Pampered Mom said...

It always saddens me when I hear stories like yours...it also makes me very glad that my Hubby is no longer a pastor. I pray that your church will be able to weather this particular rough patch!

Nancy W. said...

I too have felt the pain, sorrow, and confusion (and fear) after what has happened to our friends' children. We CANT understand it, but God is good and does good, no matter whether we get it or not. Distancing ourselves from Him only makes it worse. We must turn to the Father and hang on for dear life's sake. Make the effort and stay involved. I can't tell you what a difference it has made in my life.
And, I am so saddened still by what is going on in your church body. Again, this may be how God is separating the chaff from the wheat, and you may have a totally new congregation, but a mighty one.

Jeano said...

Thank you, Maureen. I love the quote, "Grace is the face that love wears when it meets imperfection." We have felt some grace for which we are grateful. I thought the church was a place where people gave grace and showed love and patience and kindness (the "fruit of the Spirit"). Sadly I (we) haven't received much of this lately. It's hard for us knowing that we have 6 months to "shape up or ship out. We are hoping, trusting, praying for a miracle in our congregation where there will be grace, love, reconciliation, growth, peace, patience, etc... and show to our community what Christians are supposed to look like. "They'll know we are Christians by our....".

Maureen said...

I too am saddened by the lack of patience and the seemingly 'worldly' reasons for wanting Jim out. I used to think this church was different, but then maybe now it will be.