Where I live school started yesterday.
At least the public schools.
Which means this Sunday is the first Sunday since the end of June when families and households will be back in a more “normal” schedule. Normal at least to the extent that that the schedule we keep for 10 months each year is to be considered “normal.”
In preparation for this Sunday and beyond…
Floors have been cleaned.
Classrooms are being readied.
A picnic has been planned.
At least my calendar…
Is, once again, becoming full.
Overall, I am glad for the programs and the classes and the opportunities to come together, but too easily and too often we mistake means for ends. We spend so much time and energy planning and preparing and getting ready that worship and classes and programs become an end in themselves. We measure our performance or other’s commitment by their attendance or participation. When, in reality, our gatherings, whether for worship or learning or service to others, should be an invitation more than an expectation. An opportunity for grace to brush up against our lives more than one more obligation.
I love the word grace, but I am sometimes not 100% sure I know what it means.
Maybe all that and more.
What I am sure of is this.
Too often our churches have been more about expectations and obligations; about shoulds and oughts than they have been about grace.
I don’t know about you.
I sometimes barely know about me.
But what I do know is this.
I don’t need one more should or ought or weighty obligation.
I do need a place for grace.