"I've lived a good life..."
"I'm not good enough..."
"…I don’t steal, I love my children, I walk my dog every day and I wash behind my ears.”
We all think we live a good life. It’s natural. After all, where we’ve had choices, we’ve taken the decisions that we think are right. We may be able to look back on things that we regret doing, but at the time they felt right too.
And even the “bad” things we do – aren’t they just the inevitable result of what’s happened to us? “After the week I’ve had, I really needed those drinks.” “I had to drive that fast – I was late for a meeting.” “I couldn’t let her get away with that.” “After what he’d done, there’s no way I could speak politely to him.” “If I’d told the whole truth, I wouldn’t have got the sale.” “If you don’t fiddle your expenses they think you’re weird.”
So most people think they don’t need to come to church, because they think they’re good enough already.
"…they wouldn’t approve of me.”
“They’d probably say I should stop going to the pub.”
“They’re certainly not going to welcome a single mum.” “They hate gays – I’d have to live a double life.” “I’d have to stop smoking.” “I wasn’t brought up going to church –
I wouldn’t know what to do.”
But church isn’t for people who keep a set of rules. If any church has ever given you that impression, I apologise. As someone very wisely once said, the church isn’t a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.
In fact, when he was on earth, Jesus seemed to spend most of his time with people who everyone else avoided – like prostitutes and dodgy tax collectors. The so-called religious people attacked him for it. But the “sinners” flocked to him, because he accepted them as they were, and showed them that God loved them, rather than driving them away like everyone else did.
But sadly, many people still think that they’re not good enough to come to church.
But here’s the thing: church isn’t about proving we’re good enough for God, it’s about discovering how good God is for us.
And the cross proves it. The cross shows that God himself stepped into our world. It shows that God loves us enough to give up his life for us, for people like you and me who’d turned our backs on him. That’s how good God is. That’s how much he loves us.
And so the cross brings us all together as a new people, a new community. People who thought we were good enough, and people who knew we weren’t, all now knowing that the important thing is how good God is, not how we compare with others.
So why don’t you come to church this Easter and discover it for yourself. Come on Good Friday afternoon to Christ Church in Lye, not to be miserable and mourn Jesus’ death, but to be amazed at his love. Or come on Easter Sunday morning – at Rufford School – to celebrate his victory over death.
This article first appeared in The Rufford Brick issue 7, March 2015