This past Sunday, I must confess, I didn’t attend church. I realize this isn’t very shocking for most people today but since my wife is on staff at a local congregation, this time alone on a Sunday morning was quite rare. I passed the time catching up on odd jobs around the house that I had put off for sometime. While I casually took care of the menial tasks, my mind began to wander. I began to think about the future, both mine and (for some reason) the church’s.
Very soon my world is going to change, my wife and I are expecting a little girl in June, and I can’t help but think about how she will view religion in the 21st century. For better or worse, our little girl has two seminarians for parents so I image she will have a few opinions on the subject of church. Sometimes I wonder the point of church in today’s society. Is it a place for socializing, programs, gossip or can it truly be the epicenter of God’s transformative action within the world? I idealistically want to believe the latter.
At this point my mental wanderings converged and I thought about why my little girl might need the church, and this is what I concluded. I want her to experience the importance of sharing, grace, redemption, and love within community. I want her to recognize injustice in society and know that it is not right. I want her to look compassionately at a homeless stranger, an orphan or an elderly person and desire to help them achieve a better life. I want her to see the beauty of God’s creation and fight for a more environmentally minded society. Finally, I want her to know the teachings of Jesus and model her life after his radical message of hope and peace.
When I was finished daydreaming I felt convicted. I realized the church still has the potential to teach my little girl to be the presence of Christ in the world but perhaps we have just lost our direction.