Congregational life in a church can be very supportive, happy, helpful. But life isn’t lived in platitudes. I remember a few days after the attacks on 9/11 sitting in a drive through line at the bank and seeing a large billboard for a local church, welcoming people to come and worship with them. The sign showed a praise band and said something about how they knew how to be happy. I remembering thinking how poorly that new billboard would resonate with post 9/11 Americans.
A friend recently asked me a theological question concerning Lutherans and Catholics and I hunted for a good answer. My hunt took me to a web site of a Lutheran church clear across the country from where I live. I was so struck by the substantive nature of the website. It wasn’t just calendar notes, spaghetti supper invitations, and news about the building fund. There were meaty class lessons posted. What I would like to share today, is a letter concerning the attacks on Christians in the middle east. The letter takes seriously the fact that Christians, even those of us living in relative safety, may one day be called upon to do hard things. Life is sometimes very hard. Sometimes Christians are even told to convert or die. Christian life isn’t for the faint of heart. I found this letter very helpful. It offers suggestions about how ordinary Christians can prepare themselves for the unthinkable.