Active Duty

Active Duty

I saw a meme yesterday on facebook that really made me laugh.  I wasn’t the only one who saw it.  There was a message in my email box this morning with a copy of the meme and a suggestion I use it later in the spring, around the time the nominating committee goes to work.  But I decided it was too good not to use it now as we enter the third week of a new year.

A man and woman (husband and wife, I imagine) are pictured standing in together looking at a letter in the husband’s right hand.  He holds the envelop in his left and she is looking over his shoulder.  Both have an unmistakable look of foreboding on their faces.  These words escape his mouth, “It’s from our church…we’ve been called up for active duty.”  If this letter had come from the United States Department of Defense, the couple would be looking at perhaps a two year commitment in the Armed Forces, but it came from the church.  Sadly, it’s the experience of many church goers that once you become active in the everyday life of the church, it begins to feel like a life sentence.  Volunteer to serve in any position for education or fellowship or discipleship and you will be there…forever!  At least that’s how it feels.  Part of the reason for that is the limited number of people (the experts say 20%) who actually volunteer from the congregation.  I think that number is a bit misleading for us, because we have so many people who are in the diaconate and Christian Women’s Fellowship Circles as well as worship leaders, greeters, Worship and Wonder story tellers and musicians. 

On the other hand, we have a sizeable number of folks who neither volunteer nor attend worship on any kind of regular basis.  One of the things I’m certain of when it comes to Christianity is that you can’t be it alone.  Jesus invited people then (and still does!) to come and follow him, to be in a community where each supports the other, where prayer is both a community event and a personal moment, where testimony is acclaimed, where outreach and mission are central to the work of the community, and where worship is a central act of faith.  So, as we enter this “new year”, perhaps we might look at ourselves to determine if we are answering Jesus’ “call to active duty” in our daily lives and on Sundays for worship.  Or, to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, “My fellow Christians, ask not what God can do for you, ask what you can do for God.”

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