I am writing a song, as I have been known to do from time to time. I confess that I have borrowed the theme for the song from a book I just started to read, because it (the book) reminded me of an experience I recently had at a church whose name, location, and denomination I choose not to reveal.
Sorry, but I just am not into denomination bashing just because someone else chooses to walk a different road than I do. I prefer to leave that to the self-righteous. We are all seeking the same destination, although our paths may differ along the way. Who is right? Who is wrong? Not for me to say. I have enough trouble just trying to stay my own course. Here is my song:
'I am smart enough to know
I am dumb clear to the bone
And just dumb enough to think
I can make it on my own.....'
That's all I've written so far, hopefully more will come later.
It was a huge church, seating several hundred people, with multiple services every Sunday morning. They really had it going on! Which is a good thing. The sanctuary consisted of a very large semi-circle facing a raised altar, with choir behind. Big screen TV's, lighting, studio stuff, if you know what I mean. The service began with an extended music segment of worship. A massive choir, an orchestra, a wonderful sound system all lended to make it a quite enjoyable experience. Quite a change from the very orthodox Anglican liturgy I am accustomed to.
The pastor arrived to deliver his sermon, which was quite eloquently articulated (he spoke good), if not somewhat lengthy.
(St. Stephen preached the longest sermon in the new testament and the Sanhedrin took him out and stoned him to death). (Acts 7:1 - 7:60)
(Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you took all the people in the world who fell asleep in church and laid them end to end, they would be a lot more comfortable.)
But I digress (twice).
At the conclusion of the sermon he proceeded to ask for an altar call. A good thing. No one came forward so he tried again, still no one came forward. After the third attempt, to no avail, he stopped and stared at the congregation, and asked this question: "What will you say on judgement day, when you are standing in front of the Lord our God, and He asks you for a list of all you have done in this life to warrant entry into His Kingdom? What will you say?" Oops! Our paths just went their separate ways.
Okay, not being a theologian, I think I understand just enough about Holy Scripture to be dangerous. I may be wrong (not the first time, by the way), but I always thought we were saved by the Grace of God, not by our works or accomplishments while on Earth. Did not Christ die on the cross for our sins that we may have eternal life? Were we not all saved by His blood?
Well, I certainly hope and pray he just got caught up in the moment, forgot, and left that part out, because I don't have a list. Haven't kept one. Didn't think I needed one!
I believe in my heart of hearts that the pastor is a Godly man. I honestly believe he helps people who may be struggling with their spirituality. I certainly believe he brings people to the Lord. It just struck me as odd that Grace was never mentioned. Oh well.
If there is a point to all this, I suppose it would be this: There are many Christian denominations in the world. There are many styles of worship to choose from. What I find fulfilling others may not. What feeds me spiritually may leave someone else cold. There does not need to be a right or a wrong. There is no right or wrong. The important thing is that we believe, that we worship, that we all seek the same eternal destination. How we get there is up to us.
After all, we have all been saved by the Grace of God. When? I believe it was three o'clock Good Friday, two thousand and seven years ago.