I bumped into them at the weekend when I was away.
We got talking and worked out that I had done a funeral for a relative 14 years ago. They remembered me and I remembered then.
What I remembered most was the Sunday after: they wanted to come to church & could only come in the evening. I went with them: I wasn’t preaching.
I can still remember the acute embarrassment I felt as I sat with them. I didn’t expect perfection, just some feeling & a sense that what the preacher was saying connected with God and with life- perhaps some sense that the prayers were sincere or allowed space.
Maybe I was over sensitive to this couple who felt Christian, but had not been to church for years. but I felt embarrassed by the irrelevance of what I experienced. I think this was magnified by sitting through another service that morning when I had felt that it was a waste of an hour.
However they experienced it, they never came back.
Even now l remember the week that followed & the slough of despond I entered into: was this really what people sat through?
I do not claim to be fantastic & some of the things I say make me cringe on the Monday after, but after that Sunday I resolved never to ‘phone it in’ or stick to going through the motions. There always has to be reality, feeling or connection with life as it is and with God. Even if sometimes it is a crying out of ‘I just don’t know any more’.