It may seem obvious that someone should be able to walk into a Church service and hear about God in Christ.
I have been reading Thomas Merton’s confusion upon entering a Protestant Church when he felt he wanted to go to church. The minister seemed to speak of English literature and politics instead of what as a seeker after truth and God he expected, “God and religion.” Merton said that he felt the minister didn’t know what his vocation was and had “taken upon himself some function in society that was not his and which was, indeed, not a necessary function at all.” That impression was affirmed by contact with Protestant Churches and ministers he encountered before and after that moment.
Let’s pray that seekers who decide to try out church this coming Sunday will hear about Jesus and realise He is the One they are searching for. Let’s pray what may seem an unnecessary prayer: that the church in Scotland would remember what it’s vocation is in its essence.:
“Jesus, Son of God, Saviour, we humble ourselves before such a testimony and ask, ‘Is it I, Lord?’ Have mercy upon us, upon your church and all its servants. Allow us more time to share You and your gospel with people in this land and beyond.
You walk among the candlesticks and hold the stars in your hand. Please, don’t remove our candlestick! You say that is a possible happening when you speak and your church does not listen. Let your people in Scotland find our first love rekindled where it has grown cold.”
My fear is that this part of Merton’s testimony, which comes from the early half of last century, may be frighteningly relevant to our own day, and may well be replicated, sadly, in many gatherings called “church.”