Recently a family came to church and told me that they were “shopping for a church”. It rattled me to hear this. At first I wanted to say whatever they wanted to hear in order to win them over or “to sell” them on St. John’s. But then I found this troublesome. I think that they were probably using the wrong words to describe a process of discernment in regards to where they felt God calling them. But the words were there, and as such posed to me a great statement regarding faith in our culture. Are we looking to consume our faith, like other products?
I am an Episcopalian, not because I chose it out of all the others as the shiniest and prettiest product, but because it is where God has led me to serve. Despite the denomination's shortcomings I was called or led by God to serve in this community in the same way I am called to love the children who came into my life and the parents who were there to greet me at my birth. I love the music, the liturgy and have deep memories and family history here; but the core reason I am an Episcopalian is because it is where I have felt led and where I feel I need to contribute my gifts.
If we go to church to consume her programs, indulge in her beauty and art, and in order to meet or connect with people, we could possibly miss the deepest treasure of all. Like hanging around someone who might be of assistance or might have something for us and not realizing that this person could be the love of one’s life.