As I wrestled with the idea of something “Christmasy” to write about, I came across a truly American Christmas statement by the world renowned theologian from Atlanta, Dave Barry. It is on target:
“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”
Over the course of my life as a Christian, (from age 20) I have observed the downturn of most things human and much of what is known as “religious life.” Some years ago I started quite a ruckus in the church I pastored at that time. Seems one of the “leading” ladies of the congregation went to her reward, (which may have been surprising) and the family contacted me about officiating at her memorial service. I knew her to be one of the leading ladies, from what the family told me, though over several years I had never seen her in a church service, but had talked with her and her hubby at the small version of a mall in our town.
In a moment of weakness, stupidity and what I childishly supposed courage at the time, I suggested that we have the service at the mall as she would feel much more comfortable in that venue. I am known as “slow on the uptake” but it took only a passing listen to the rage in the voice over the phone that I, the up and coming young whiz bang of a preacher had seriously blown it. (Actually they did have the procession drive through the mall parking lot on the way to the cemetery). And let me say that having officiated at several thousand funerals or as we say today, “Life Celebrations,” I have never said anything near what I said that day. I say this with the burning guilty knowledge though I have felt like repeating the same thing more times than I can count, the remark would have been spot on, though not appropriate. It’s hard for preachers to learn that truth is not always the order of the day.
So, as best I can I wish you a Merry Christmas, as you wear yourself to a frazzle in the mall of your choice celebrating the Incarnation of God The Son, making His entrance into the world of people via The Virgin and cementing this truth by His resurrection from the dead.
As I write this I am attempting to recover from another terrible slip of the tongue this very morning. As I was trying to write a Christmasy piece, a woman and her child stopped by our little church informing me that, though she would be too busy tomorrow (Sunday) at the Mall of her choice to attend the service, would it be okay if she called in the afternoon to meet with me and a deacon to partake of the Lord’s Supper?
I hope not, but you may read my answer in USA Today or hear it on Fox News.
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly
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