Dear Brothers and Sisters at CBC,
I donated blood at Children’s Hospital recently and I had a good conversation with the phlebotomist. I donate there three or four times a year but it usually takes a few exchanges to remember prior conversations. I mentioned that I had eight children and pastored a church and that was enough for him to remember me.
He said, as people often do when they find out I am a pastor, “I should go to church. I have a friend who is always telling me to come to church.”
I said, “Don’t go to church. Church isn’t about ‘going’ on Sunday morning. It is about being part of a community which believes that God is good and that this world is going to come out good in the end despite all its problems. It is a community that believes that through Jesus we are shown who God is and who we are meant to be. You see Jesus demonstrated through his death and resurrection that God is love and that we can trust and obey him. God’s way is not the way of power over others but of service to them; being last is being first in God’s economy. This is the glory of God and the future of humanity.”
I continued, “Imagine a world in which the leaders and peoples of every nation woke up and asked themselves, ‘What other nations need our help today? What other people can we serve with the abundance with which we have been entrusted?’ Such a world would be a paradise with love, cooperation, and care leading the way. This is the way God is going to make the world.”
He nodded a nod of interest. I sensed that this was a little different way of thinking about God for him.
I said, “Church is like football. There is a big moment on Sunday but a fan discusses and thinks about their team all week. They love it. They savor a win or rue a loss at least through Wednesday before turning their attention to the next game. They think about the next opponent and the chances of victory. When you are a fan you can hardly wait for the kick-off.”
Now he was fully engaged! He was a fan and we were both experiencing joy recounting the Patriot’s recent Super Bowl victories.
I said, “When you feel about God the way you feel about football, then you will love not only going to church but being a part of it.”
He gave a little grunt of assent, removed the needle from my arm, and walked away with a pint of my blood. I hope to see him again at my next donation. It is only by the blood!