A Eulogy for the American Church

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered today to celebrate what once was. 

Don’t look at today as an ending, think of it as a beginning.
Life is not over for our dearly departed, it has just begun.

Oh, things will be different now. They certainly will be.
You won’t see her as you once did.
She won’t hold the sway over you like she once did. 

Let’s be honest in this moment of bereavement and remember that there were fights. Every family has them. Somebody got mad at somebody else and stormed off. It happens. Excuses were made for bad behavior. Guilt and shame were part of the modus operandi. Those with the biggest smiles too often had the longest fangs and the sharpest daggers. It was “us” vs. “them.” She didn’t always know how to love those that doubted or questioned or walked way. She disappointed us (sometimes more times than not) and tried to sweep things under the rug. She was so frustrating at times. 

Nevertheless, we have happy memories of times gone by: Potluck dinners and Sunday School drives. Singing songs. Revival moments. Making friends. Being there in good times and bad. She wasn’t always horrible. She was good. Mostly.

Things are different now. They always will be. 

Indifference, busyness, neglect, money, factions, misplaced allegiances, politics (both in Washington and in the family), disillusionment, faithlessness all were part of her demise. The pandemic will be blamed. But it wasn’t the pandemic. Covid didn’t destroy her. We did. When we took our eyes off the Prize, we killed her. Little by little she died.

We will miss the church we once knew. 

What’s the cliché?  “Good things come in small packages.” Could this be true?
Just maybe.
If we who remain start doing what we weren’t doing. John’s advice is still relevant:  
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18). 

Not words. The world has heard too many words. 
We need actions (plural). Truth (Singular).
Love constantly with actions. 
Hope continually in the Truth. 

Life is not “us” vs. “them.” It’s “us” and “us” journeying down the same road. We aren’t all in the same spot. Look ahead and you’ll see some of “us.” Look behind you’ll see the rest of “us.” It’s recognizing it’s just “us” on the road and all of “us” need more Jesus. 

It’s different now. Will it be better? Only Jesus knows.

Good bye old friend.