Though it is not dead, I mourn it.
Tonight three relatively minor things struck all at once, and I am bitter. Call me Mara.
A member has accused me of theft, hiding behind “loving concern.” Through the last two years or so I have received occasional cards addressed to me and my family that had cash in them – not a large amount, but enough to take the family out to ice cream. Now a member is telling the council president that I’m stealing this money from the church. The president rolls his eyes, but it is a dissident voice – and though the person has not been named, I strongly suspect that it’s a person who has wanted me out for a long time. If it’s who I think it is, they’ve been accusing me of trying to kill the congregation for years. Well, though I have not, if he screams loud enough, he may see the closing of the congregation come to pass. And I am bitter that someone would not trust me, that someone would think that a gift intended for my family must go to the congregation, because if it is mine it must be theirs.
Tonight as I exited the church sanctuary (passing through on an errand), the automatic door closer fell to the floor. It will take some elbow grease to repair the door, but nothing major. But it reminds me of all the many things that show this building’s age: the radiators, the cracked plaster, the tiled hallways that can never be scrubbed clean through so many years of wear… And here’s one more thing. And I know that someone will say, as they always do when something falls apart here, “Well, if [insert person here] would just use it right, we wouldn’t have this problem!” And I am bitter that there are such accusations.
Tonight as I walked the building to make sure the doors were locked and lights were off, I discovered that at one end of the building, every single light is burned out. These are lights by a stairwell frequented by the teens in our teen center as well as our evening service. And even these bulbs bring bitterness. When I talk about how they need to be replaced, the answer I will receive is, “Well, it’s not that important.” Why? Because only Sunday morning matters; not the teens they don’t see during the week, and certainly not the evening service. Only Sunday morning matters, obviously, and there’s enough natural light then that we don’t need to replace the bulbs. And that callous attitude toward those God has called… oh, it makes me bitter.
And I look at the future of this congregation I have been called to serve. What do I see? (more…)