High River United Church of High River, Alberta


So Why Don't You Come to Church? I Shouted at the Radio.

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So often lately I’ve found myself shouting at the radio, “Why don’t you come to church?”  No, it is not the radio that I want to come to church.  It is the people behind a certain news item I’ve heard.


A recent study showed that loneliness is as detrimental to the health as smoking.  It also showed that loneliness was of epidemic proportions, especially among those in their late 20s, mid 50s, and late 80s.  It was as I listened to the report of this study that I started shouting, “Come to church!”


Another report talked about the benefits of volunteering and how, for people of all ages, it brings greater happiness and satisfaction in life.  You guessed it. I was shouting, “Come to church!!!”


The church has something to offer for so many of the current social and personal problems faced in society, if we would just believe in what we have to offer and if we would present it in a way that invited people in, without judgment.  


Loneliness is one thing for which we have an answer. Church is about community. It is a kind of community not offered really anywhere else in our society:


It is an inter-generational community. I just love watching our older adults taking time to chat with and listen to our littlest ones.  Both old and young benefit from these contacts. 


It is a caring community.  We aren’t about competition as disciples of Jesus.  We are here to care for each other. Everyone is welcome, just as they are.  You don’t have to have certain skills or be of a certain social standing to be part of a church community.  Gender expression, sexual orientation, cultural background, faith group – everyone is welcome. Do come to church.


It is a community of real people. On any given Sunday, we have those in grief and those celebrating new life, those who are devastated by a turn of events and others delighting in new possibilities, those who are grumpy and those who are happy, those who are lonely and those who are overwhelmed by all the people in their lives, those who are struggling with addictions and those who are at a point in their life to offer support. We are here as real people.  We aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing.  But together we keep trying & learning.  We are real – together.


And we have lots of opportunities to people to volunteer – meaningful opportunities in which people can make a positive difference for others.  We’ll help you find the satisfaction in life for which you’re longing.


Another time you’ll find me shouting at my radio is when I hear about the rise of stress and anxiety in our society.  “Why don’t you come to church?” I shout, because, at church, we pray.  In prayer and meditation, we have a way of releasing anxiety and finding joy and gratitude in our lives.  This particular news cast was exploring the unreal sense created by Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat, where everyone is happy all the time in pictures, doing fantastic and creative things among smiling friends.  For those already feeling lonely and depressed, such photos only make them feel lonelier.   So, why don’t you come to church?


Because at church, we are real.  As we worship and work together, there are tears. There are conversations about struggles with health and with children. There is honesty about addictions and other challenges in life.  As we work side by side in church activities, we share our stories – real stories about the life we are living!  And our stories are received with loving care.


I know that in some churches you have to believe certain things in order to be a part.  Some churches seem to have so many rules and exclusions.  But the Way of Jesus is about welcoming and caring; it is about showing compassion and accepting each person as they are, for who they are. So, we take the approach of being faithful friends, worshipping together and working together to be a community of help, home and hope.  We embrace diversity with compassion, courage and respect, learning from each other and growing together as followers of the Way of Jesus.  So, why don’t you find the church where you feel welcome, but do come to church!


I’ll take the faithful friends of a church community over a multitude of Facebook friends any day.  As it says in the book of Sirach 6:14-16:


            Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure.
            Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.
            Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.


In church, we are surrounded by faithful friends in a community that will be there for us no matter what happens in our lives.  So, why don’t you come to church!


If you are lonely or depressed, if you are searching to find some meaning for your life,

if you are stressed out or overwhelmed & anxious about many things,

if you want to live with purpose while making a positive difference

or if you want to interact with people of all ages,

why don’t you come to church – because we have something to offer you –

the beautiful gift of faithful friendship and the care of our loving God.


So, why don’t you come to church?  You are welcome here!


March 5, 2019                                      ©Susan Lukey 2019

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