I wrote yesterday about the waiting on the Fool’s Bench at Easter.
As it turned out, I didn’t sit. I stood near the door to church in the Great Room, craning my neck, looking over the shoulder of anyone I was talking to, hoping to see the shaved bald head of my next-door-neighbor and his blond wife walk in.
I prayed and prayed. I saved seats at two (count ’em, two!) services, which did NOT endear me to those who did come and were tackling others for a spot, practically paying hard cash money so they could sit inside the sanctuary instead of in the overflow rooms.
It didn’t happen. Yes, the other friend did show at an earlier service and I pray that she felt totally hogswaggled by the enormity of God’s love for her, but it’s hard not to focus on the ones who didn’t come.
I’ve been thinking about them…All the friends and neighbors and co-workers and prodigal family members you invited to church this Sunday. Or last. Or any one of a bazillion times.
They didn’t come because this morning they got too afraid. Or they were embarrassed, or hung over, or just…tired. Or they’ve been hurt so deeply that they’re not ready yet.
And I want to say to them, it’s ok. It’s really ok. We’ll keep waiting. We’ll keep saving a place. We understand. We’ve messed up and we will again, but we’ve discovered this amazing truth that Jesus is crazy about us, and He’s crazy about you with love that just won’t quit. Easter is just the beginning that love story.
I go into the sanctuary today and see a guy I know who’s been in recovery a couple of years now. I get a hug from a friend whose marriage is imploding. I talk to a woman whose been out of work for two years and has a mom in hospice. These are my people, prodigals all. The people just like me who are hot messes. Broken but being put back together by the lavish love of Jesus.
So if you didn’t come today, don’t worry. But know that these are your people too. And we’ll be there waiting, saving a place for when you decide it’s safe to come in.