5 There is constant bickering between people whose minds are ruined and who have been robbed of the truth. They think that godliness is a way to make money! 6 Actually, godliness is a great source of profit when it is combined with being happy with what you already have. 1 Timothy 6:5-6 CEB
A friend received a mailing from a local church advertising their Easter Service. Among other things it said: FREE IPAD and MOVIE STYLE POPCORN to those who attend. I got all distracted with the idea of marketing like this on Easter – traditionally one of the busiest Sundays in Christendom. Why not do this on, say, the third Sunday in August when most people are on vacation? But I digress. My friend was very bothered by the idea that anyone would think this is a good idea. I called another friend in Texas where they do things BIG and asked her position on the subject of Easter marketing campaigns. She told me that in Texas they have churches that rent helicopters and do “Easter Egg Drops”. I’m not sure what this means, and she hasn’t had the heart to show up for one of them so we are both in the dark in terms of details. Although she does know the time and place, as many billboards advertise the event and the church sponsoring said event. I don’t know how to think of such things, as I get all spun around the logistics of the details. What exactly gets dropped? How does this happen without breakage? How low does the copter swoop?
But maybe the better question is one that surrounds expectations. What might one expect from a religious institution? Free IPADS? Fresh popcorn? Tiny bombs of Easter eggs stuffed with solid chocolate eggs and surrounded by a tract of some sort to reduce breakage? I don’t know.
Many religious folks over the years have gotten confused about the connection between the benefits of godliness as opposed to using godliness as a means of obtaining. I think when Nadia speaks of being rooted, based on her stories, she’s not talking about gaining, she’s talking about meaning. A by-product of such benefit is contentment.
Last night someone showed up a few minutes late to our support group, apologizing as she entered. I, being rooted in this community, was so grateful that she made it here at all! When you worship in a recovery church, you don’t generally lose people to the Baptist church down the street because they have a better Vacation Bible School. When our folks drop off the map it sometimes means they have re-entered the dark streets and back alleys where they can seek after what has been missing – their drug of choice. Show up late, show up in a clown suit, show up with a faith experience that has no label – or not. We don’t care! We are just so grateful to see your face. Contentment for us isn’t marked by drawing in hoards of people, it is the by-product of knowing and loving the names, faces, demons, and yes – spirituality – of those who are here. Because we know what it is like to lose people. I mean really lose them as in they die. Today, take some time to count the cost of losing people you love, and find a way to love the ones who are with you. This is a contentment that is priceless. Far more valuable than an IPAD.