I'm a Pepper, Wouldn't You Like to Be a Pepper Too?

This got me thinking about the church.  In communities of faith everywhere, there is always tension between yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I remember serving in England many years ago, seeing pictures of hundreds of children dressed in white for a Sunday school anniversary, and hearing people long for the past.  Nostalgia is a powerful thing.  Over our 4+ years in Prosper, I could not begin to count how many times I have heard folk comment about the Sanctuary feeling like a return to home, the past, a place that may only exist in memory.  Years ago we said our niche would be traditional worship, and that emphasis has worked well for us.  But we always must be careful to remember why we offer what we offer-- not to manipulate people longing for something missing, but offering the truth of God.  The church is so much more than marketing and packaging.

The advertising industry has some of the most talented people anywhere.  They know that nostalgia is powerful.  We may feel challenged and even in despair about events around us, but repackaging our favorite drinks or snacks in familiar ways of a different era can immediately evoke a positive feeling (and a sale!).  Inside the package is something that may be delicious, but it will be temporary and fleeting.  The church can bring back the same feeling: stained glass windows, the Apostles Creed, the Lord's Prayer. But inside is an opportunity to learn and grow, to surround oneself with caring, loving, positive people who love Jesus and others, who covenant together and hold each other accountable to do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.  No matter how it is packaged, the gospel is truth-- the good news of the One the writer of Hebrews referred to as "the same yesterday, today, and forever."