Yesterday, I went to the dentist. And confession time, before that, I hadn’t been in six years. And as I was lying in the chair with my head tilted back and someone else’s hands in my mouth, the dental assistant said, “you should come more often.” Then she said, “going to the dentist is kind of like church, you have to come regularly, Pastor.”
And two things popped in my head at that point. The first is that it’s a blessing and a curse living in a small town where everyone knows who you are. For instance, I am a pastor even when someone has their hands in my mouth. And the second is: She’s right; going to the dentist is like going to church – and we probably should go more often than every six years.
I mean, sometimes we go to church when something tragic hits. We want answers and we can want someone to fix it when everything is broken. And how many of us have gone thru hell and shown up at a church hoping that the pastor might say something/anything to make it better. I myself smashed out my tooth eating ribs on the fourth of July and had to find someone to fix it. That’s how I ended up at this dentist to begin with. In tragedy, we can want quick fixes for our teeth and gums, and for our souls.
But when it comes to church (and the dentist), quick fixes don’t cut it in the long run. If I only went to the dentist when my teeth broke out, I’d have a really rough looking mouth. To have healthy teeth, I literally have to brush up on them twice a day. And then there’s mouth wash and flossing and regular check-ups every year or so for a good cleaning. Caring for your mouth, as much as I don’t always like to do it, takes work.
The same is true of faith. There is more to God than quick fixes. Faith gets to be something we live daily, pray daily, grow in daily. We get to brush up daily and have that relationship with God, because God has found us. So pray over meals, pray before bed, and when you get up. Pray in the shower and where ever else. That’s how we get to brush up. And if it’s been awhile since you’ve stepped in to church (even six years) come on by to First Lutheran. We’d love to have you stop by.