“Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!”
Psalm 66:1–2 (ESV)
This afternoon I am leading a memorial service for someone who was not a member of my congregation. She had no church family, so the funeral home called and asked if I’d step in. I do this regularly; every life should be celebrated as a gift from God, every family needs to hear the promise of God’s abiding love – especially in the face of death.
I did not know the woman that we are burying today. I’ve read her obituary, and it is not unlike any other obituary that you find in the paper day after day. She was born, married, had kids, worked here, enjoyed this, and condolences can be sent to… Wanting to know more about the deceased, I called her daughter and asked if there was anything else that she could tell me about her mom, all she could say was, “she loved bingo.”
I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, that is not where this article is heading. But seriously, wow!
I cast no judgment upon this woman. Only God knows her heart, and I pray that God, who is rich in mercy and grace, has received her into His Kingdom through His Son. If she is saved, it is by the same grace and love that has saved you and me. This article isn’t about her.
I do wonder, however, what is wrong with the church today, what is wrong with the way we show God to the world, when at the end of life all that can be said is, “she loved bingo.”
Have we failed to communicate the awesome and transforming love of God? I know there’s nothing like a good game of bingo to really raise one’s spirits; but compared to the glory and goodness of God, does bingo even stand a chance?
I woke this morning to Chris Tomlin singing Indescribable
From the highest of heights
To the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of Fall
To the fragrance of Spring
Ev’ry creature unique
In the song that it sings
You placed the stars in the sky
And You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untamable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees
As we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Who has told ev’ry lightning bolt
Where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses
Laden with snow
Who imagined the sun
And gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us
The coolness of night
None can fathom
There is obviously a disconnect between the God whom we worship and the god that we are showing to the world. When people would rather love bingo than be awestruck by the glory of God, then they really haven’t seen God in us.
The world wants to see it. They are desperately looking for someone who’s got a connection with God, someone who’s found meaning and purpose in life. Unfortunately, too often all they see is a church full of people who fight and complain and are no different from people outside the church.
My prayer, brothers and sisters, is that wherever you are, you may be so enamored with the glorious radiance of the greatness of God that people will see you and say, “I want that!” My prayer is that when brothers and sisters come together as the church, we may be a community that has been purchased and forgiven by the blood of Christ, reconciled to God and one another, working together to show the world the goodness and love of God. My prayer is that, at the end of your life, someone might say, “She liked bingo; but she loved the Lord!”