(Posted July 23, 2015)
An interesting topic was suggested to me for our Sunday Service this week. It’s one that I don’t ever recall being the focus of consideration, either. That’s the topic of Singleness and the Church. Please note that this is a topic for everybody to listen to, married or single. Each of us, at one time or another has been a single, whether by chance or by choice. The Apostle Paul, himself single as best we know all his life, had a keen understanding of the states of life to which we are called. Paul in Corinthians boldly states both marriage and singleness to be gifts bestowed from God.
I am glad to say that First Church Danbury does an excellent job of making sure that single people are completely incorporated into the church community each week. However, this is not true for many churches where so much emphasis is placed on drawing two parent families with children that a space isn’t really made for inclusion of those who “travel solo” to church, with or without kids. It’s important for all of us to appreciate the single members among us, and to continue to enclose the circle of caring at First Church around all.
That some churches don’t appreciate their singles is both sad and ironic, too. So many people that we meet in the Gospel have their encounter with Jesus singly, not paired with a spouse or family. Even Jesus himself (Dan Brown notwithstanding) was believed to be single. This was a major break from Jewish expectations of the time that counted on every Jewish male to be married by age 18. It would have made Jesus stand out. But then, we already know that he chose not to tread the path social norms, preferring to dine with sinners and tax collectors, to prefer the poor over the powerful, and to modify restrictive laws with common sense.
This Sunday we will spend a little time thinking about the special opportunities that singles have to be in dialog with God. And we’ll explore a handful of the more fascinating single people of the Bible and our own time, and how they accepted the gift of their singleness and made it work for them. We’ll also have the special treat of Jim Moriarty providing this week’s Young Christians message.
A special note: I will be on vacation starting August 1 and returning August 24. Our deacons will be on hand to handle any pastoral care emergencies, and I am grateful for my colleagues who will “pinch hit” for me during the Sundays I am away. Thank you to all who make the chance for a rest possible. – Pastor Pat
One more note: Be sure to take Flat Jesus as we head into the back half of Summer, and take his picture to share when we return in September!