I taught a “church” session at a nursing home last week.
Now, on its face, that doesn’t seem like much. Given that many of the folks gathered in that room have been Christians for years and are now closer to seeing the face of God than I am (at least, I think they are!) that doesn’t seem like a big thing.
Except for two things: 1) I’m afraid of Nursing Homes, and; 2) I’m not a “pastor” and I’ve never been good at speaking to groups of older folks.
The strange thing was that this room of folks, many of which had to be helped to get there, out sang many of the regular congregations of church-goers I’ve seen in the past. And more of them laughed at the parts of the sermon where I would have liked them to laugh than many other times I’ve spoken. I even made it down the hall to visit a great-aunt that couldn’t make it to the meeting. I’m scared to admit it but I felt better than I have in a long, long time doing that.
It seems like lately that I am only truly happy when I’m either alone and talking to God or talking to others about Jesus Christ. I get upset when there aren’t any good gospel teachers on the radio or on the Christian stations on Direct TV. It’s like being lost and out-of-place when what I’m doing doesn’t involve serving God. Yet the thought of being a “Preacher” scares me to death. Most of the “Preacher’s” I’ve known in my life were either the most kind, intelligent and spiritually gifted people who I’ve ever met or they were the worst kind of imposter. I don’t feel like the first and I sure don’t want to be the second.
Yet sometimes I feel as if my life in this world will not be complete until every opportunity I can get to get in front of a group of people includes talking about the fact that there is only one person, one God, one Way by which this poor wretched world of people can be saved and that is (as Billy Graham would say) “the man and the glory, Jesus Christ”. For 25 years I’ve seen how bad people can be and how they can act. I’ve met real saints and unrepentant sinners. I’ve studied “religions” and traditions and worship and doctrine and dogma and psychology. I’ve asked questions with no answers and found answers to questions that I had no idea that I had. I’ve watched people I love die and seen people I love born. I’ve seen people who I love suffer that didn’t deserve to have as much as an ingrown toe-nail if good deeds amount to anything. I’ve seen persons of pure selfish evil and malice gain more power and influence though their manipulation of the weak, uneducated and unsaved.
And the more of this I see the more I understand that there is only one name by which a man can be saved and that is Jesus Christ. There is only one faith that can supply people with happiness in this world and life once we leave it. There is only one way to defeat death and that is the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Sin is an illness and there is a cure and each day that I don’t shout that to the world I get more frustrated, sad and discontented.
But the only way to walk that path to teach is if Christ calls our name. And for the longest time I’ve wondered if my name was being called. I wondered if I could meet the challenge and duty of such a sacred call. What if I fail? What if others don’t take me seriously? Do I give up all and start now? Do I wait for a “door to open”? Am i mistaken and my call is to another service?
I’m still asking a lot of questions. But tonight I have decided that, if my name is called, my answer will be this.
“Here I am. Send me.”