I've been privileged to speak at Emmanuel Church, Enid Oklahoma this past Sunday as well as the upcoming September 25th Sunday.
They asked me to write a brief article for the bulletin on the concluding service of my being with them. I was glad to do so. I just sent it to be published next weekend.
What I said I would like to pass along to you as well. I'm making a point that is very valuable, it seems to me, concerning those times the church gathers for worship. Do you agree?
I'm so glad for a fellowship that is real. Mary and I have traveled rather extensively and are experienced with attending every size and flavor of local congregations. Not all are real.
What I mean by that is that, all too often, "going to church" takes on a "mask" kind of mentality. Whatever shape or form that mask takes, its purpose is to hide the real person, especially if pain, hurt and struggle are all part of that person's journey. Who wants to be real when real isn't too pretty? Right?
Well, real is beautiful, if the truth be known, and the alternative of pretense and fakery are about as ugly as people can get.
Jesus lived in reality. The woman at the well was a benefactor of that reality. Her failures and hurts didn't turn Him away and were some of the stuff that made the reality of Jesus so potent in that encounter.
Every time Mary and I attend Emmanuel we go away with that sense of reality the woman at the well must have experienced in the Lord. Mary and I struggle and fail, [and are open about it] but just keep going in our journey together. But that doesn't seem to bother you folks at Emmanuel. In fact, you seem to thrive on accepting people who are on that kind of messy journey.
Well, here is a "thanks" from two who love sharing the real journey with you. It's been our joy to be with you the past two Sundays.