No Point in Waiting
June 01, 2022
By Pastor John Partridge
It occurred to me that many of us, myself included, have often used the pandemic and our current denominational stress as excuses to put off doing the important work of the church. We decided that we didn’t want to invite people to church because, well, we weren’t having in-person church, or because we were only having parking lot church, or because we were afraid that they might not want to come because they’d heard about the division within our denomination. But the problem with that kind of procrastination, is that it’s and excuse that never ends.
Every one of us has heard Harry Chapin’s 1974 hit song, “Cat’s in the Cradle.” In it, the man telling the story always promises his son that he would find time for them to be together, but he never did. And at the end of the song, the son is exactly the man that his father was, and repeatedly promises that one day they will find the time to be together. But sadly, we all know that they never will. We hear a similar tale in Robert Bloch’s story “That Hellbound Train.”
In it, a young hobo, Martin, makes a deal with the devil and exchanges a trip to hell for a watch that will allow him to stop time at the happiest moment of his life. And at each of his happiest moments, his wedding day, the birth of his children, Martin debates whether he should use the watch and stop time or if an even happier moment is yet around the corner. And, in the end, Martin never manages to use the devil’s watch before he dies.
Our reaction to our current crises seems to be the same.
We all thought Covid was going to go away in a few weeks, or months, and here we are, more than two years along that road, and still the end is not yet in sight. We keep hearing promises that our denominational confusion will end at “the next General Conference,” but I remember that my pastor and mentor, Linda Somerville, had the same hope when elected as a delegate to the 2000 or 2004 General Conference. Even now, even as churches are choosing to leave our denomination and form another, I simply do not believe that the end is anywhere in sight.
What I’m trying to say, is that there is no point in waiting to do the things that we know that we must do. We know that our church must continue to do the work of Jesus Christ, we know that we must continue to reach out, to be agents of healing and hope, and to continue the mission that Jesus Christ has given to us in Alliance, in Ohio, and in the world. We know that we must grow, we know that we must become an invitational church, we know that we need to reach out to our neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends. We know that we must show them the love that Jesus has shared with us, and invite them to be a part of Christ Church, and a part of Christ’s eternal kingdom.
There’s never going to be a “perfect” time. We don’t know when, or even if, this pandemic is going to end, or what the new normal will look like on the other side of it. We have no idea when, or if, the division within our denomination will end, or if it will just transmogrify into some new kind of debate.
There’s no point in waiting.
There is no benefit to procrastinating or kicking the can down the road.
The only thing that makes any sense, is for us, to do the things that God has called us to do…
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