No matter how terrible of a day I had at work, my negative feelings always disappear when I see Deborah’s weary face as she returns from the hospital.
After all, my work environment includes live music, endless snacks, cereal and candy bar, an actual fully loaded bar, a pool and ping pong table, and TV’s everywhere. There have actually been nights where I preferred to stay longer at work just because it’s so comfortable here.
Deborah’s working environment (probably) has a eerie, sterile smell with death lingering around every corner with the strangest combinations of people from all different life stages and problems. Hearing about her day after a long shift is tedious. I do my best to share in her burden, but there are just some things she chooses not to share with me because it’s too graphic or confusing (thank you). It makes my tough day seem like a cakewalk in comparison.
Imagine then if someone came in with a serious injury or condition that needed to be treated at the Vevo office. How awkward would that be? People would be standing around, not knowing what to do. Other people might feel extremely uncomfortable because it’s so abnormal from the cultural norms of my company.
This is how I feel many churches are when it comes to the broken and hurting people. When I think about the environment of a church, I typically compare it to Vevo more than I do to a hospital. There’s plenty of ping pong tables but no operating tables. There’s mounds of candy but no real sustenance. Everyone’s seemingly well put together, and it’s in general a fun place to be, but what then happens for the people that are broken and in need of serious healing? What happens to the people who need mentorship and counseling?
These people get suppressed into fitting into the fun, consumer culture the church has regressed towards. Other people might have serious needs and may never know it because they’re never addressed.
My hope and prayer for the church I’m in is that we aren’t out of our element when a person is in need of healing. That we’re not frozen when someone asks why they would even need the Gospel.
Let’s instead be a church that understands how hard and exhausting it is to be a sanctuary for broken people.
Let’s instead be a church that not only knows how to have fun, but also knows that we work for the Great Physician.
Let’s be a church that can be better described as a hospital for the sick than as a daycare for the dead.
“And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:30-32