By Rev. Aaron Todd
To the one who came to church,
It's a busy day. You have a busy life. You don't even have to be here. After all, what is one Sunday out of the fifty-one others that will come and go during this year? You've got a packed schedule and a brain and a heart that is full of thoughts, questions, and to-do lists. Some days, it's hard enough to get up and get moving when you have to be at a place where you get paid for your presence and participation. Wouldn't it be nice to have a morning where you did not have to rush to get the family dressed and fed and hurriedly out the door? No one would blame you if you were somewhere else today.
But you are here today. There are many times when I long to crawl inside your head and your heart so that I may see more clearly what leads you out of your daily grind and into the Church and what good news you long to hear.
What is it that brings you here? Is it obligation and a sense of duty? Is it a need for refuge and a desire for sanctuary? It is it a longing for community and companionship? To you come here looking for a sense of belonging? Do you enter through the doors of the Church desperately needing to hear the Good News that tomorrow can be brighter than today? What is it that calls you out of your home and into the house of God?
Perhaps you come out of a sense of duty, and you sometimes feel under appreciated or that your commitment is not noticed or does not make a difference. When you think those thoughts and when you feel like you are not making a difference, please know that I appreciate you and that what you do here is seen by the One we serve and that what you do matters.
Perhaps you are coming here seeking sanctuary and safety. Feeling as if the world is an unforgiving and unrelenting place you coming here seeking to have the waves of life buffered by the sturdy walls of the Church. As you seek that refuge, maybe there have been times when you have not felt safe even within the Church. Perhaps you even come here slightly wary, feeling like you have to be on guard even as you want nothing more than to lower your defenses. If you are coming here for safety, please know that I desire nothing more than for you to find it here.
Perhaps you come here for companionship and to know that you belong.. Perhaps you have recently retired, sent your children off to college, or bid a final farewell to a parent or spouse. Perhaps life has brought circumstances to you in such a way where now all you need is someone to sit and to share with. Even in the midst of the commotion of this day, and though or in spite of the numerous activities offered by the Church, I pray that you found a cup of coffee, a comfortable chair, and a soul or two to worship alongside you today. I pray that you were able to laugh, to cry, to listen, and to be listened to. I pray that I showed you love and properly acknowledged your presence here.
Perhaps you come here searching for Good News. Perhaps this has been a week of less-than-good news and you need more than anything to hear a word of hope and of promise. I hope that the words that were shared in the hallways, around the coffee pots, in the classrooms, and in worship were good words. I hope that you were able to hear a message of love from not just the scriptures and the sermon, but from the eyes, lips, and hearts from all in this place. I pray that you found yourself encouraged, strengthened, and enlivened by your time here. I pray that you, even for a moment, had your sense of hope restored.
No matter what led you to this place, and no matter if I will see you again next Sunday, please know that I am grateful and humbled to have the chance to share in a time of worship with you. Please know that I saw you here and that I thanked God that we had this time together. While I long to see you again, please know that no matter where life takes you that you will forever have a partner on the journey.