By Andy CastroLang
Listen, I am not the kind of pastor who is going to tell you that your immortal soul is in jeopardy if you don’t come to church on Sunday.
But you already know that, don’t you? After all, you came to this church and enjoyed the welcome of members, the worship, the music and the preaching enough to come back, time after time after time.
You came and sang the songs, you shared the prayers; you came and ate the snacks and drank the coffee and chatted with other members. You gave me feedback on my sermons, you may even have challenged my theology. We sat together over coffee, or a glass of wine, and shared deep questions of faith and doubt, of hurtful church experiences and transcendently wonderful ones too.
I have listened. Other members have listened too. We have honored your story and your journey.
At some point you made a conscious decision to join this family of faith! You learned a bit more about our denomination and the congregation’s story in this place and in this time.
You stood in front of the congregation with a deacon at your side and we clapped and smiled at you as you chose us! How exciting it was! How heartened we were to have you join us on our communal journey of faith!
But now you do not come any more. We don’t see you. We don’t see your family, your loved ones beside you. You don’t smile and greet us, you don’t drink coffee with us anymore.
We miss you. Did you know that?
Your face has become dear to us, and we don’t know where you are, and yes, we miss you when you are not here.
Did you not realize how much we love you? How we love the squeal of your children? How we love the glow in your eyes when you challenge an idea, or see a new possibility?
Did you not know that you matter to our hearts? We do not know if we have hurt you, or alienated you, or if you have grown bored with us. We are not bored with you. You are loved by us.
Please come back. Let us see your face again, hear your voice again, laugh and cry with you again!
Did you know…that we miss you?
Andy CastroLang is senior pastor at Westminster Congregational United Church of Christ. She is deeply committed to civil discourse between individuals and throughout our community; in interreligious conversation, private conversation, intergenerational conversation and yes, even in political conversation. She has been a supporter of SpokaneFaVS since its inception because she supports this creative effort at thoughtful community conversation.