I recently met a woman in our community who grew up at Embry Hills. She went to church here, was baptized here, and after high school moved away. While we were talking she joked about how with their preacher, they always knew how long his sermon was going to be based upon the result of the University of Georgia football game. If the Dawgs lost, the sermon was short, and they got out of church early. If they won, then there was A LOT to talk about, compare, contrast…everything. While we laughed about it, I began to think of how true that is. The things we put value into, determine our outlook on everything else.
I kind of used to be that way about sports. Whether or not UGA won, or now Atlanta United, determined my joy going into the next week. I wasn’t regularly preaching then, so I’m not sure how that would have played out, but it is amazing how we feel about things external to us determine our internal world.
Something that changed my mind was a Fellowship of which I was a part. I was a part of a group called the Lewis Fellows, out of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. We traveled around the country and talked to several pastors all over the place about how and why they did things. How they organized their churches, and how they led. It was great to be with a bunch of sub-30 year-olds and learning together. One of the leaders of the program was a woman named Ann. She told me about a program she was working on called 52 equal Sundays. She said, “There are no ‘high’ Sundays, and there are no ‘low’ Sundays. Every Sunday is an opportunity to worship God.” She asked us why we put so much emphasis on the high attendance Sundays, and less attention on the ones where we do not expect as many?
We tie our emotions up into a lot of different things. We tie them up with our sports teams, with politics, with our children and families. We tie them up with our world and the news we hear, but that should not take away from what we bring into worship. It should not take away from our relationship with God. I am a fan of a lot of things, but when it comes to God, that is a different level of relationship to which we bring our whole heart.