I'm the only human being in Birmingham who didn't whip out my camera and start taking pictures of the snow.
I had two good reasons, actually. One - I know I'll see snow again in my life-time. I LOVED the snow, don't get me wrong, but its kind of like taking a picture of the lake I grew up on. eh...its just Lake Martin. Two - I was kinda busy. Sunday was exactly what a Sunday always is. Morning fun and apprehension when preaching (and Communion at that!) and then afternoon frivolous activities until Bible Study. Of course, when I was at church, I would say there were a good 10 minutes around 10:45 that I was scared for the safety of everyone trying to go home. But by noon (and after we had cancelled Bible study)
just beautiful sunshine to be had. How typical.
Things seem to happen to me like that all the time. It won't rain if I actually bring an umbrella. I'm not complaining as much as I am just making an observation.
But its a darn good thing we had church. Five people joined in the 8:45 service. In SDL, a 25 year old was baptized.
These things might not have happened at another time if we hadn't had church! But for those who did go into the snow - I'm glad you could enjoy yourself. Even if you never went outside and just sat indoors watching it - you needed a quiet moment.
Sometimes spectacular events require us to slow down. Right? And lets be honest - Church is not something worth slowing down for.
This is where I give the obligatory pastor-speak. You've heard it before - hey! Wouldn't it be great if everyone got excited about church like they get excited about college football?
Pardon my pessimism, but that will never happen. You know why? Because our God is one that moves in mysterious ways. Mystery scares the pants off people. Enough said, right?
Our Jesus isn't really concerned with saying what people want to hear as much as saying what needs to be said.
Our Jesus isn't really concerned with you being excited as much as he is filling those who are excited.
Our Jesus isn't about creating boundaries as much as he is about destroying walls.
The snow was quickly a dividing line for Christians in Alabama. Some stayed home and basked in the uniqueness of it all. I'm sure the glut of snow pictures on facebook and the local al.com was humorous for the transplanted yankees in our midst. But some Christians warmed up their cars - planned for the worst - and set out in reckless abandon for church, some because it was the right thing to do, others to prove how much they love Jesus.
So! Basically what you got were some Christians who went to church, pointed to heaven, and said, "see how much I love you!" then they stared at those who played in the snow and said, "wow, you don't really take God seriously!"
What happened with the slackers? Well, some played in the snow and said, "God, this is beautiful, thank you." and then joked about those stuffy pharisees who went to church on such an incredible day and how their religiousity kept them from enjoying this.
Get over yourselves people. I was there at church. Yes, Jesus showed up. But you should be no more proud of going to church than you were the week before. If you played in the snow, get over yourselves people! Those people who went to church were blessed in a way you missed out on.
I'm sure there are some Mary's and some Martha's at both places.
Sure, there is probably a lesson somewhere in here about how seriously (or lack thereof) we take Jesus in our lives. But what was really striking to me was how resentful Christians who went to church this past Sunday were. It was like someone had spit in their coffee.
When the Bible says that God sees what is inside your heart - I think it really means God sees your attitudes and your sorrows. I'm not gonna lie, I was at church and something inside me wanted to sleepily look out the window with my wife (who had never seen snow like this) and just watch the beauty of it all.
But I was not called into the ministry to look for excuses to skip church. I was called to preach the Gospel to those who will hear it. And thats what I did. And I'm glad I did. But yeah, I don't think I need to kid anyone - there was an element of duty to the whole morning. And all in all, God was blessed in it. I haven't let myself get sore over the fact that I went and someone else didn't. I just know that for myself, *I* was in the right place.
I hope that when amazing moments happen in your life - you will slow down and appreciate them. But I also pray that when you are called to be somewhere, you hop to it and make it happen.