I remember a time when the priest at my old church was talking about this non-denominational church that had started up in Nashville. She couldn’t figure out why they had such a hugely following. The unspoken part was that it was huge in comparison to the attendance at her church. Average attendance was about 80 at hers, and about 300 at this new thing.
I felt it, but I didn’t have the words at the time. I now know. She was jealous.
Instead of being glad that the Gospel was being shared, instead of being happy that more people were turning towards Jesus, she was jealous that this church was getting the numbers and hers wasn’t.
Like it is about numbers.
Like it is a popularity contest.
Like it is about her at all.
The fact that she was jealous is why nobody showed up at her church. She had made it her church. She had held on to it so hard that she had forgotten who was in charge of it.
It isn’t the minister.
It is the One who never ordained anybody, and told us not to have Fathers or Rabbis or Teachers, because we have all of that in God.
If Jesus is the head of the Church, all will go well. When it is a competition and a popularity contest, not so much.
She said “We have all of that, and we have sacrament!” as to why her church, her denomination was better. But who needs an empty ritual, a show of communion when you have true Communion with God through Jesus, when you have a living relationship with him?
She was afraid of the relationship I had formed. None of the classes offered there taught about how to have this kind of relationship. I’m surprised she even allowed people to go to Cursillo, which is all about meeting Jesus in person.
But then, she didn’t want me to go to it. She thought I was being called to be a deacon, but Cursillo would have been too much.
The fire still burns in me.
I still wonder about a denomination that confuses someone who wants to help people with someone who should be ordained. Surely, wanting to be helpful should be normal, not so unusual that it requires a committee and Bishop approval and homework and years of study.