“Happy Sabbath”

She said with a smile, pressing the bulletin into my hand. She had the brightest smile on Sabbath morning, and I’m sure that’s why week after week she is schedule to be the greeter. There is no doubt in my mind why she is there each Sabbath morning.

Because she loves Jesus.

She also loves each person she greets on Sabbath morning. She gives us all a smile that says “I’m glad you’re here! Isn’t Jesus awesome?!”

I wonder why the rest of us are here.

Looking around, I wonder why some of these people drag themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning to come to this church. Eyes tired, darting from face to face to…phone, back to a face as an outstretched hand grasps another in a weak handshake.

The young mother missed 97% of the service because she spends minute after minute hushing little children, taking them to the bathroom, keeping their “quiet toys” quiet. One, two, three,…eight people sleeping. Some text, some write or draw, some play games, and some are listening avidly.

But why are we here?

Sometimes I wish someone would just ask.Instead of “Happy Sabbath” it would be nice for a fellow human to say to me “I’m glad you’re here! What brings you here?”

And I could say, “I didn’t feel like coming; I had a rough week; the kids made me late today; I burned breakfast and we ate cold cereal; I really could have benefited from sleeping in…but I came because I love Jesus, and I knew He would be here!”

Imagine, you hear Jesus is teaching in your town.

You would drop what you were doing, run in your sandaled feet down dirt paths in blistering sun or pouring rain to get to Him, to hear Him speak, to touch His clothes.

Wouldn’t you?

Don’t you imagine you would sit all day in the heat, forgetting rest or meal time? Wouldn’t you climb a tree to catch a glimpse of Him?

Imagine, you hear Jesus is teaching in your church.

Isn’t He?

Through the pastor in the pulpit teaching from the Word, and the elderly lady who takes the crying baby from the overwhelmed mother, Jesus is teaching there.

Through the praise team singing with enthusiasm and thanksgiving, and the group of ladies who invite the hungry family to stay for lunch, Jesus is teaching there.

Through the smiling faces of children praying, singing, and telling stories, Jesus is teaching.

Even when we don’t feel like coming, even when our heart’s not in it, even when our mind is elsewhere, Jesus is still there teaching.

Who better to learn from?

I went through a significant period in my life in which I didn’t want to go to church. Not only was I in no mindset to meet Jesus, I was not in my right mind. I had no desire to see smiling “Happy Sabbath”s when I got into the doors, nor did I even want to walk through the doors.

But I did.

Week after week, with virtually no feeling for God (except anger) or for those around me (except deep embarrassment) I went to church. Not only did I go, but I drove 60 miles to attend. Sometimes I slept through church, sometimes I sat on the back step of the church, and sometimes I surprised myself and I listened.

All the time, though, I went to meet Jesus.

I wasn’t sure what He wanted of me, or how fit I was to be there, but I knew I was there to meet Him.

Why else are we at church?

If you aren’t sure why you’re at church because you just may not be “feeling it” lately, or because you’re too busy or burnt out to enjoy the service I urge you to think about what brings you to church week after week.

Pray about it.

You may come to realize that you are supposed to show Jesus to someone else. You may begin to see Jesus teaching you through others. And you just may find your heart for Jesus again.

The next time someone wishes you a “Happy Sabbath” take a deep breath, pray for help, and show them you love Jesus and Jesus loves them.

Church will become alive for you again. You will love people again. You will thank yourself later.


*Individuals and organizations in this writing are generalized ideals and do not reflect a specific person or church.

“Image courtesy of  papaija2008/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.