Fitting In

As of yet I do not have a church family. I have been attending church every Sunday but so far don’t feel that I am fitting in anywhere.

At ABC church in the downtown, a massive beautiful old church right across from city hall, I have attended every Sunday, visited the church through the week and visited the library on a couple of occasions. I’m a little tired of being asked, “and who are you”. Several weeks ago, I requested a meeting with the reverend. He told me that he was very busy and asked me to send a request through the churches website. I told him that the website does not work and that I had already tried this route twice before. Once in December and another time more recently. Both times I have never heard so much as a peep out of the church. The reverend then told me to e-mail him directly and he would be sure to get back to me. I told him that that was my most recent and second attempt that had gone south. We agreed to meet in the auditorium and we exchanged e-mails and contact information. I heard nothing. The following week on my way out of the church the reverend caught up with me and explained that he tried to contact me but the e-mail that I gave him was not valid and then he was too busy to make a phone call. I was a little put out because I have handed out my e-mail hundreds of times over the past decade and no one has ever had a problem before. As far as being too busy to telephone, well I suppose that is a common problem in this church. This reverend should pay attention to Philippians 4:13 ESV, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” He left it in my court to contact him again. I shook his hand and told him politely I’d be seeing him around and I left. I’ve not been back since.

       In all fairness being a pastor, a reverend, a minister, a priest or any type of a leader, must carry huge loads of responsibility. But, when you become so busy that you turn down a new member it’s high time to learn to delegate responsibilities. Interestingly enough this church complains that it cannot attract new members.

      The following week I attended XYZ in North London. It is a brand new building thriving with thousands of parishioners. The church is built on the edge of the city limits and the city is showing no signs of stopping its growth there. Beyond the church there are subdivisions upon subdivisions of half a million dollar homes and up, all containing young professional parents with 2.5 children a dog and a cat.

     The church has something on the go seven days a week. On the weekend alone there is a service Saturday night and eight services on Sunday; Four kid and youth programs a Mandarin, two Contemporary and a Traditional service. Throughout the week there are a plethora of guides, exercises, experiences, camps, studies, resources, foundations, counseling and support services, sponsorships, communities and ministries. Monthly magazines, booklets and newspapers informing every one of all the programs, upcoming programs and activities with progress reports are available on large racks in the main lobby. 

     This church appeared to me to be an over populated bee hive. I felt like a new honey bee in town and I had just flown across town to check out the big new hive temple. When I arrived there was a flurry of worker bees fanning the entrances, keeping the temple air conditioned. Some may have been on guard for new comers and atheist but if there were, they weren’t  standing out in any way. There was such a commotion at the entrance I flew on through the masses and made my way to the reception desk. Here, there is a confusing swarm of nurse bees gathering children for the nursery, kindergarten and youth classes. Mom and Dad bees were signing over their little larvae and then hurriedly rushing off to meet their other apis friends. Gathered in clusters they then swooped off to claim their comb cells in the theater of choice. Some were flying off to the upper balcony for an aerial view of the colonies stage, others to the underground cave for stage front seating. Some were flying off to get a drink of coffee or tea with honey or Royal jelly. Some were zipping off to go to the wash station, the library or the lounge. Others are gathering their notes and getting changed for their performances. Some were testing their buzzers, stingers and antlers otherwise known as musical instruments. God only knows maybe some were in the hair salon having pedi’s and mani’s or possibly their wings trimmed. The temple is certainly large enough to have one or two in there somewhere, the palatial hive is so large and grandiose. The worker bees at the reception desk were busy welcoming each other, friends and family. Among all the buzzing of the hive they didn’t even notice me, the new little foreigner bee quietly and patiently waiting, hoping, wishing and even deep inside praying for someone to take notice and provide a little guidance or assistance. Finally I spotted a lone bee sitting by herself and so I flew on over and asked if it would be okay to rest at the same table. I sat for a while in awkward silence and eventually mustered up the nerve, took a chance and buzzed that I was a new comer. The lone bee welcomed me and in between several other bees approaching to rub antennae with each other, the loner bee explained the various service options available. Kindly the lone bee accompanied me to the service she thought I would enjoy the most. After the service the lone bee was greeted by another elder of the hive and I graciously thanked her for her guidance, excused myself, and flew off out of there as fast as I could.

       One visit is not enough to give a proper evaluation so the next week I braved the rain and cold and returned to the hive a second time. This time I attended a different service because I wanted to try to meet other apis on my own and witness a traditional service. Surely a hive of this size and of such activity will need my help and I was searching for an opportunity to fit in somewhere. I rested by myself in a cell at the back of the theater and by the looks and stares from late coming swarms, I instantly knew that I had chosen the wrong honeycomb cell to occupy. I wish I had been armed with this scripture. 1 Peter 4:9 NIV “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”, or this one, Romans 15:7 NIV “Accept one another, then, just as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”

      Again, as soon as the service ended I flew on out of there as quickly as I could.    

       The next week there was to be thirty baptisms and the traditional service was being canceled. The overwhelming thought of the increased beehive activity for this Easter Sunday keep me at home, in bed, depressed and feeling well, rather small, insignificant, unnoticed and worthless not to mention still homeless with no church family.

       I, the little foreigner bee have much to offer and I am so wanting to be involved in some way or another but it seems that every single bee is purpose driven and all purposes have been filled at both churches. Four weeks ago I applied quite excitedly to teach English in the ESL program at the big hive. With 7 years’ experience teaching several different species in a variety of apiary’s around the world, why not? But Guess? This little honey bee has not heard an “aye” a “yes” or  a “no”. Not even a, “kiss my little stinger”. I suppose that there is no need or purpose for this new comer in the big hives of this world.

       So what should one do? Should one fly back on over there to the big hive and drop a few rocks on it, fly inside and stir things up, making oneself noticed or should one just pack up and move on? Admittedly this buzzing bee is impatient and does need to learn to chill out.

     Maybe a smaller hive will be better, one that can more easily spot a newcomer and is looking for new talent in order to grow. Possibly one, where every job has not yet been claimed and owned.