Greetings from the Moderator JULY 2021
Walk Across the Street!
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999. U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.
Currently, 31% of millennials have no religious affiliation, which is up from 22% a decade ago. Similarly, 33% of the portion of Generation Z that has reached adulthood have no religious preference. (Gallup March 29, 2021)
What are we going to do in a time like this? Well, we can join Job by sitting on a garbage heap and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can blame someone else for not doing something about it. Sadly, many people will, when they hear statistics like this, withdraw into a spiritual bunker of protection. Isolating themselves even more from the reality of this changing world that we are now facing.
The other option is: to follow the route of Jesus and the cross street! Yes, exactly! We are called to live the life of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-38). We do not have the luxury of the priest and the Levite to ignore the wounded or lost as they are lying around us, in this darkening world.
No - It is time to cross your street as we learn from the Samaritan:
• To have a heart full of compassion for all those who cross our paths, no matter who they are; what they believe, or what they look like.
• To interrupt our schedule when the Lord brings others on our radar screen to interact with.
• To share our money, food and time with others as our hands get dirty while we help them with their suffering.
On the other side of the street there can be life. Every Samaritan that crosses the street into the life of another will make a difference.
The only one that can stop the shrinking of the Church of Christ in this world – is the church! Let’s start today by crossing the street, cubicle, classroom or office floor and care for, help and invite the lost.