A Local Response to “Where Have All The Good Church People Gone?”
I read this story in your paper and my first thought was “Hey – they’re still here….” as I thought of so many local churches and all their outreach programs.
But as I read it I felt sad that such a cynical article was even written, especially this time of year. It appears the author was actually doing a story on a building (the Crystal Cathedral) and not about the movement of the heart and souls of Christians.
But I have an answer: “The ‘Good Church people’ are still here – growing and serving happily though quietly and sometimes anonymously, while being rewarded with great peace and joy in doing so”. So where are they?
They are in every volunteer program that a cynic might think is just some local business striving for advertising exposure;
They are in every AA meeting where volunteers continue to support others long past their own point of recovery from addiction, because they want to share the hope of life raw and free from alcohol and chemicals;
They are in every kitchen of every volunteer who bakes cookies or makes coffee for an untold number of weekly events at every church in the community.
They are alive and thriving in the heart of every abandoned or deserted child who receives a gift and a hug at Christmas - though expecting none.
They are in the homeless camps delivering lunches to those who have one good meal a day.
They are in the greasy hands of burly men who are volunteering long into the night to repair the cars of single moms who have no money for a new car.
They are in the calloused hands of rugged men with soft, loving hearts who continuously cut wood to fuel the fireplaces of those who cannot afford to buy a cord of wood each winter – even while knowing a few are taking advantage and reselling the wood for personal profit.
They are in the gentle hands and under the dirty fingernails of faithful gardeners who plant food and flowers to share with others on downtown Main streets and in memorial gardens where anyone can sit peacefully and experience God’s love, acceptance and healing.
They are in alive and well in small study groups of men and women who know they are broken and yet they are forgiven.
And they are in the guts and hearts of those who visit and minister in foreign countries where the leaders allow or perform unspeakable abuses on children, men and women who are innocent of any earthly crimes but punished relentlessly for daring to be individuals.
You may never know who these “good people” are - but they don’t care. They don’t do what they do to be “known” by man. They do what they do because a deep love for God and mankind compels them to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And I promise you – the world is so much better off because they exist in silent loving commitment in a way that pleases our God.
Merry Christmas - (Name withheld by Request)