In Your Mercy, Lord… Hear Our Prayer…

On this Sunday afternoon (post-Council meeting and a decision to adjust the Sunday morning schedule), my heart is very heavy.

There are some who left the Council meeting feeling like they lost, feeling left out – hardly the feelings that any part of Church should inspire.

“If you so hurt, then why would you have advocated any adjustment in the first place?,” I hear the question.

In large part, because I believe there were more who were feeling left out without an adjustment – but leaving with no voice (at least, that we were hearing). Some were visiting 11 o’clock worship [with the Sanctuary 85% empty], for example… and, feeling no real energy in worship or from the worshipping congregation, were leaving with the decision that Strawbridge did not feel right for them. Still, again, there was the young mother who told me of various times they were tempted to leave (because Sunday morning wasn’t really working for them). “I told my husband [with this new proposal]: look, it finally is going to really work for us!” Truly, I believe (yes, my opinion), the negative consequences — not just for Strawbridge but for the greater Kingdom (which is what really matters to me!) — of doing nothing would have been greater than any potential [adverse] fallout from what’s been decided… or any other option for that matter.

It goes back to my previous blog: you’ll never make everyone happy.

Still, even when you move (with reason and just cause), there’s pain when everyone is not happy. Particularly sharp is the pain when there’s a sense of hurt and injury – even though none was ever intended.

To be sure, part of my reaction was/is to be mad at those so hurting: “If they’d had their eyes on God and His Kingdom… and the needs of young families, they’d surely be able to compromise,” I think. Humility… and staying with the course in community and covenant — even when you don’t get things your way: that’s the proper way to behave.

But, IT’S NOT THAT EASY!!!!! These people are Christian! They do have real feelings and concerns and needs! God is in it all… and in each one of us!

And so, I ache: my head aches, my heart aches, my stomach is knotted… Yes, I believe we’ve done something necessary for the Church to move forward. But, it doesn’t take away one bit from the real nausea I’m feeling…

Yes, I ache… and I pray… and my only consolation is that God is not finished with any of us yet…

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

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