An Ode To The Imperfect Church

You messed up the words again
in the second song, third verse.
It was supposed to be
“You,” not “Thou.”
Maybe no one else noticed,
but I did
because I’m a Professional.
Professionals notice.

And it wasn’t your only mistake this week.

The coffee ran out.
There was a misprint.
I think you forgot to take out the garbage
in the first floor ladies’ room.
And I’m pretty sure
there were supposed to be three,
not two,
greeters at the rear door
by the parking lot.
(South side parking lot.)

my friend,
have not achieved perfection today.

And I’m thankful for it.
Lord, I’m thankful for it.

It’s nice to know that mine isn’t the only home where
the toilet paper runs out
and there is never a pen when I want it
and the kids are
too     damn    loud.

And I’m thankful for it
because I may be a “professional”
by some imaginary definition
but sometimes my voice cracks, too,
like the lady behind me
who claps off-beat
but is always quick with a smile
when she shakes my son’s hand
while sharing the Peace of Christ.

And I’m thankful that we can
smile at each other
when the microphone goes silent
because we both know that
it’s easy enough to forget to change the battery
and it’s easy enough to hate ourselves for forgetting
and it’s easy enough to believe that the
future of the Kingdom of God hinges on
whether or not we remembered to change the battery.

(Spoiler: it doesn’t.)

It’s hard to learn the art of
being a church that’s good enough
at making space for
the Word
the Table
the People of God
without taking ourselves so seriously
and doing everything so well
and so seamlessly that
we end up
only make a space for ourselves.

And it’s hard for me to avoid the
nagging voice of professionalism
and perfection
that makes me want to create a church that
is easy to invite my friends to because
it is never too hot
and never too cold
and it requires nothing
other than showing up
to watch the show.

So I’m thankful for you,
all you gloriously imperfect churches with your
broken lightbulbs,
shaky voices,
and never quite enough salt on the sidewalk.

You are as much home to me as my own home is to me.
And that really is the point,
isn’t it?

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