There was a crime scene outside of church this morning. The evidence of the crime was unmistakable. The two victims had obviously been killed and then dragged accross the ground. They must have put up a good fight because the skid marks were all over the place. As I walked past the gruesome scene, I was looking at the other people entering church to see if their faces showed any of the sadness that I was feeling. Nobody seemed to notice. It was as if nothing had happened. I sat down in the pew and hoped that the pastor would explain the events that led to the deaths of two innocent victims.
To my surprise, as the pastor described the event he seemed to take pleasure in describing the process. Apparently the crime had been well planned, and when the time came, over a dozen volunteers worked together to finish the job in a single afternoon. But why? The pastor must not have thought it was important to share with us the reasons.
The victims were two large trees that stood ouside the entrance to our church. I can only guess, but they must have needed to be romoved because they were growing in the center of the sidewalk and causing it to crack. Now I don’t consider myself a conservationist or a “tree hugger,” but it really was sad to enter church and pass two giant stumps where the trees used to be. With the trees gone it was the first time I had really took a look at the building. It looked plain and lifeless. Dead.
After the pastor talked about the trees, he talked about a giant cross that had been added to the other side of the church. It covered the side of the building that faces the road, and the pastor apologized to the people who erected it for having not noticed it at first. I hadn’t noticed it either even though I passed it as I entered the parking lot. I was struck by how obvious the missing trees were and how invisible the brand new cross was. I took a visual survey of the front of our church and counted 12 crosses – all of them might as well have been invisible.
I couldn’t have come up with a better analogy for my disappointment with my church and some of the churches I have attended in the past. These churches put so much emphasis on symbols and tradition that they miss the violence and sin in there midst. Often they destroy the few signs of life to make room for more empty and hollow objects. It happens again and again because nobody seems to know their is a problem. They congregation enters the building and sit in the pew oblivious to the violence happening right outside there doors. I know this is an extremely pessimistic view of the church and I apologize.
On a more positive note, today’s service ended by having all the veterans coming to the front and saying what branch of the military they served in and when. It was really touching to see and here these people who served our country so faithfully. Thank you to all veterans from the bottom of my heart.