You should hear our bands at Advent! Last night, Non-Fiction did a version of Holy, Holy, Holy that was the best I’ve ever heard, with the organ coming in with the band on verse 3. It made the words we were singing redundant to the moment we were experiencing.
You should hear the choirs, too. We are beginning practice for our Fall Hymnfest now. The amount of talent and creativity and dedication that goes into creating these musical events is as inspiring to behold as the event itself.
Heck, you should see the works of art our members design and create. You should taste the wine with the new bread our bakers have been making. You should touch the hands of those who stock our food pantry and plan our mission trips and create peace for those who know far too much anxiety.
I know. I heard it long ago and I do try to remember: No one likes to be Should Upon.
But today, as we begin our summer series by contemplating the word, Create, I am wrestling with how to create an invitation for those who have a limited or inaccurate understanding of what it means to be part of a faith community. And every time I try, my words seem inadequate–so that all I can think to say is: You Should come!
Go back! (I say to me.) Walk in their shoes. Remember what your life was like before you came to church.
But it’s a dim memory. What is more vivid is this: once I came, I couldn’t stay away long. From the first time I walked in, at age 28, half-way through the service and long-past the sermon, my life began to change in ways I couldn’t anticipate and didn’t even know I wanted or needed.
Being part of the church has given my life more meaning. My community, more depth. My existence, purpose.
It has taught me lessons about community that were not always easy, but were most certainly necessary and helpful and good.
Maybe a disclaimer, would help, like on a bottle of medication:
The word Should is prescribed here as an invitation. It is not for the use of guilt or to measure worth.
Apply Should liberally to the heart to provide relief from the bruises of life.
Repeat as necessary.
Or maybe, it needs to come with examples for use, kind of like super glue:
Ways to use Should:
You should read City of Thieves-what a book!
You should listen to Delta Rae — what a band!
You should taste the Key Lime Pie in a Coconut at Billie’s at Melbourne Beach — what a creation!
Or…maybe if I keep trying, I could convey my real sense of longing to gather together those who do not know…
…you should’ve been there, when we gathered around her bed to sing as she lay dying, and could palpably sense God’s presence.
Create. It’s what the Spirit does in us. It’s what happens in faith communities all the time, and I know for sure it’s what’s happening at Advent Lutheran Church in Melbourne.
So I’ll keep trying. Because I know you are out there and I know we need to find one another.
You might not realize all that you’re missing by not coming to church…but we do.
All we are missing, is you.
We should invite you to come.