On my way to work today I passed by a church.
You know how most churches have signs out front with some sort of message?
Sometimes they're witty like...
"CH__CH. What's missing? UR."
(bu dump bump ching)
"Autumn leaves - Jesus doesn't."
Sometimes the signs simply state what's going on.
The church I passed today..their sign read this:
"Short Sermon Week."
And though I don't think it was intentional on the part of the sign, I found this extrememly funny.
I laughed out loud.
Then my mind started reeling...
Did the pastor do that to bring people in? Because everyone LOVES a short message.
Was it a ploy...? We'll put Short Sermon Week on the sign to bring in the masses and then once they're in here we'll have a play on words and then make them sit for over an hour."
Or, is it really Short Sermon Week? Is there a game that Preacher wants to get to so for the sake of honesty he's being up front and letting people know..."Hey guys, I've got VIP tickets to X game and church is gonna be over by 11:53 on Sunday."
It made me think of my Dad's pastor who tells everyone ahead of time the Lord has a lot for him to say on that day so get comfortable.
Most people look forward to the idea of Short Sermons.
I for one enjoy a well thought-out and prayerful sermon. And if that means on the longer side, then so be it.
But from a societal standpoint, we (being the instant gratification, On Demand, DVR, Call Ahead, X-press Pay, WiFi everywhere, I-Phone addicted, Gotta Have it Now, More More More, Me Me Me people we are) have schedules and things to take care off. The shorter the message the better. Sunday (or Saturday~ whichever you prefer) is not a day of rest anymore...it's just another day and church can tend to tap into that day that you still need to GET STUFF DONE!
I love learning the in's and out's of Scripture from someone else's perspective. And if that means sitting for 45 minutes vs. 12 minutes, then that's ok by me.
I like to take notes and soak in what the Holy Spirit is impressing upon my heart in that time.
I enjoy the academic side of it...the preparation and prayer and research and time that goes into what I hope most pastors put into their sermons. If I were preaching and did all that work, I'd make it long too.
Short Sermon Week
But as all this was going through my mind and I was becoming a bit offended by this sign, God said to me...
"Is that the point?"
When asked to draw a heart do we draw this?
We draw the more simple one don't we?
So why do we, make the message of Jesus so complicated?
Again I thought back to the sign and it occurred to me maybe the pastor is just bringing simple back for a week.
No bells, no whistles, no expository research, no theological training necessary, anyone and everyone can understand...Short Sermon Week.
Because though the life and times before, during and after Jesus are important and interesting and in depth and even necessary for a believer to embrace and learn about at somepoint...
The Message of Jesus is Simple.
In fact, my two year old sums it up perfectly....
Jesus is God.
He was born a baby to His mommy Mary.
When He was big He died on a cross for our sins.
Because He loves us.
He went to Heaven.
But He'll come again.
And we'll get to meet Him.
We can make things really hard sometimes what with all the denominational disagreements and idiosyncracies. Shoot, most members of ONE individual church have different beliefs most the time!
And we let all that get in the way.
We make it unnecessarily difficult, when it really isn't difficult at all.
But Jesus says,
"Just know me. That's all."
The Great Big God of the Universe, who hung all the stars in the sky and who made our complex brains, bodies and hearts asks us to simplify.
I Am God.
I made everything you see, yet I came to this earth as a mere babe...defenseless and dependant.
I died a criminal's death. Hung. On a cross.
Because I love you.
I am in Heaven.
But you'll see Me again soon.
Thank you. Thank you that you have given us brains and hearts to learn about and feel Your message and love. But praise and glory be to You, Lord that it's a simple one. One that is meant for everyone, big and small, young and old, every color and creed, from all walks of life.
Speak it to us daily, Jesus. And give us courage to share it, Lord.
I love you.