Even as a pre-schooler I wanted to go to Sunday School to be like my big brother. They kindly let me in before I was 5 and I loved it from the beginning. The Sunday School teachers were always kind to me, and I was a keen student. Although my parents didn’t go to Church, I was unaware of their disbelief, as their principles were largely Christian. They wanted ours to be too – so long as we didn’t take it too far! That part didn’t go according to their plan because God intervened supernaturally when I was about 10. It was a life-changing experience and nobody has ever been able to convince me that it wasn’t real.
Hence, for most of my life, I have attended various churches on Sunday morning. I have enjoyed being part of these communities who are united by the underlying story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. There is a unifying hope and challenge in trying to live out principles modelled by Jesus 2000 years ago. It’s not easy interpreting his actions for today’s world, so the Church is somewhat dependent on those who have stepped up their commitment, undertaken study of the Bible and are able to transmit its teachings to others in meaningful ways. Surrounding this teaching are practices of honouring God together and interacting graciously with the rest of the community. This has become a finely developed art over 2000 years! Do I miss this tradition? Yes – but not as much as I used to.
Whereas I loved Sunday worship gatherings for many years, my growing concern for those who are effectively ‘locked out’ became my over-riding concern. Most churches will warmly welcome newcomers, but if people have never been to church, or experienced it badly in the past, they are unlikely to go in (maybe on the arm of a trusted friend). Hence, I instigate various ways to allow people to taste the treasures of Christianity gently. (See my previous 2 blogs). Lane Cove Uniting Church usually run a great Sunday worship service and enable me to go out into the community to be with people in their environment. The people who come regularly to these gatherings have formed communities too, which I find satisfy that relational worship need in me. Having different options available is ideal, as faithful people who love the time-honoured traditions of Church continue in that way, while those who don’t, have some options too.
Christian faith is very rich and sustaining, offering extraordinary wisdom for those who care to delve. I just don’t want anyone to miss out!
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." The Bible, John 10:10 (NIV).
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.