This being a Christian thing isn't as easy as one might expect or hope.for Church is a bit like some of the parties I've attended: It would be great if it wasn't for the people!
It's not that they drive me mad, they just don't help me to stay sane, and that's where the problems arrive by the lorry load. After all there's so many challenges to one's sanity in the shape of malformed liturgy, misread Bibles, unread Bibles, weird theologies and basically weird, infrequent, attenders. And that's the good side of the event before me!!!
As much as God is blessing (because that's what He does) stuff that surrounds me, the reality is that people are working (albeit not hard) at confounding and confusing what otherwise can only be assumed to be right stuff in so many ways. There's so much to be grateful for (and I am) but there's so much that causes me to ask what is going on to the extent that I can understand why a hermits life is so appealing.
People energise me, which is right for someone doing the stuff I do. But they also drive me round the bend at times as they work so hard at staying the same and doing Church on their terms. Regardless of the way remedy is attempted we all cling to self and selfish, self-serving, ambitions and attitudes. If you speak out you're regarded by some as grumpy old wotsit and the eventual tack to be taken is to merely smile and let the world pass you by on the way downhill and to let the lunatics attempt to run the asylum.
Discussing this elsewhere, a wise friend encouraged me to step back and merely smile on the grounds it's what they've done for years and it serves them well. "Do this and everyone thinks you're a really nice person," they said, "And although you get frustrated, you just tell God it's all His and do something nice!"
"But what about when it goes wrong and you've done nothing?" I asked them, "What then?"
"Well then I do something and people see what a nice person I am again," was the reply.
Lord, I struggle to say nothing when things around me look at odds with the things You call us to be and yet one around me tell me that the answer is to be honest and silent and yet this doesn't seem to be the hallmark of living like Jesus. Help me to be a man of integrity without frightening the sheep or compromising myself. Help me to step back and leave things to You if this is the right way forward - safe in the knowledge that people will become stronger if they get through it in their own!
Lord, give me Your heart and the wisdom to make it real in the lives of others.
And for all the party poopers out there - help me to find different parties to attend ;-)