Since I know you’ve been wondering, I’d like to tell you a bit about my mother’s bridge club. This group of women meets each Monday to play a serious game of cards. They used to play in each others’ homes, visiting hers every eight weeks or so. As a kid, I enjoyed those days since I could generally scam a few handfuls of chocolate-covered raisins or other candy for making a quick appearance. Now, the eight-some get together on Mondays at the small restaurant at a local antique mall. It’s great, my mother assures me. The card tables are already set up. Everybody buys her own lunch. The people put on a pot of coffee. The hostess simply has to bring cards, scorecards, and snacks. Where these ladies used to take pride in showing off their cleaned-up homes and trying a new (or favorite) recipe for the others’ to brag on, they now opt for a simpler, more convenient form of a get-together.
Mom will be 91 this summer. I’m pleased as can be that she and her gang can sit around a couple of card tables and exercise their minds through the game and their voices as they share the latest goings on. (None dare call it gossip.) Realistically, in a few years, as the group continues to age, they’ll lose members. They might manage to replace those who drop away, but eventually this group will age out of existence. There won’t be a lot of 40-somethings who want to play cards with the 90-somethings and vice versa. The club will cease to function, which will be perfectly fine. It will have done its purpose, providing a social contact for some ladies who would otherwise have been sitting about doing nothing.
I can’t speak with any real knowledge about my mother’s church. I do know that it is over 150 years old. Clearly it did not age out of existence–at least not yet. While it’s terrific that Mom’s bridge club has decided to move into a restaurant for their convenience, her church should not be about convenience. While it’s reasonable that the club would be somewhat selective, seeking socially similar women to fill vacant chairs, such is not the case at the church. And were her church to ever age out of existence, it would not be perfectly fine. The purpose of a church does not die with its members. It lives on just like its founder.
All too often, I think, we think of the church like a bridge club, a place where we know people, eat together, and enjoy good times. Yes, a church should be all of these things, but if it is not something more, then it really isn’t a church. My prayer is that my mother’s church will share Christ, baptizing and making disciples until He comes back; the bridge club can fend for itself.