People have left the church and are not returning – and others who are looking for spiritual life are not flocking to the church because we don’t appear, any longer, to be the church. Instead we have become:
- The police department
- The political and social action committee
- The theatre
- The mortuary – the funeral home
Mortuaries have a certain smell. We can’t quite identify it. But it’s not a happy smell. It’s a smell we have come to associate with solemnity. Mortuaries are serious places with muted colours. Subdued lighting. Quiet, pensive music.
Isn’t it weird how some churches smell curiously like a mortuary? They are solemn, serious, and not fun. They stress (embrace is too cheery a word) the somber aspects of worship and faith. Mortuary mentality creeps in with music choices, traditions, and even their style of clapping (or lack thereof). Would people longing for an authentic life in Jesus look for it in a funeral home or mortuary?
If ever a church were on the verge of passing into the great beyond, it’s the mortuary-type church. Sure, mortuaries serve their place in the world., but it’s certainly not where we go on a regular basis to grow closer to others. If you’ve ever been to one, you know exactly what I mean.
Churches should be places full of life and growth. They should be healthy harbours of hope, not gloomy graveyards of grief. Yes, there is a time for tears, but not every time we gather together. In Christ, we have so much to be joyful about!
Remember, Jesus said, “For you are like whitewashed tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)