Don’t Settle for the T-Shirt
By Rev. Ruth Roth*
Wednesday morning worship began with spirit-filled music led by the Garfield Memorial Mosaic Worship Team. Across Hoover Auditorium, worshippers lifted their arms in praise, clapping and singing “all the praise is yours, blessing and power, glory and honor.”
Rev Chip Freed’s message centered around Acts 8: 26-39, Phillip sharing the gospel with the eunuch. Like Phillip, we are on an adventure with Jesus. Freed shared a story of parents returning from a vacation and presenting their daughter with a T-shirt. It was printed with the slogan, “My parents went on vacation and all I got was this lousy shirt.” The child was not thrilled. You see she did not have the experience of the vacation, therefore she did not understand the excitement, joy and love experienced on the trip. Freed said that too often we in the church, wear a similar shirt “I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” AND we settle for the t-shirt rather than an experience with Jesus.
He went on to explain how churches do not reflect, nor engage our communities. Those who attend worship are far removed from the racial and ethnic make-up of those living around our churches. “If our devotion to Christ does not precede our personal wants, preferences and politics we are not alive in Christ and following his leading,” Freed said. Like Phillip, who stepped out for “20 seconds of incredible courage” and engaged the eunuch, who was questioning the meaning of scripture. Phillip explained the scripture and led him to discover Jesus.
We need to allow God to break down our barriers, all that prevents us from reaching outside our walls with the love of Christ. Connecting with all people, those who are homeless, alcoholic , drug-addicted, mentally ill, LBGTQ, and those racially or ethnically different from us, Meeting all of God’s children so that, they might experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ.
*Rev. Ruth Roth is pastor of Deerfield UMC.