Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2023 Blog #20
May 15, 2023
Recently I had a craving for Won Ton soup. I get food cravings every so often and they must be satisfied. I drove down to the local strip mall where I get my Won Ton Soup but I was unable to enter. A car in front of me was trying to enter but people standing and looking at some sight were precluding the flow of the traffic. It took a few minutes for me to become aware of what was happening. An unoccupied van was parked in a no-parking spot and preventing a tractor-trailer from driving where he was going. The tractor-trailer driver could not make the turn while the no-parking spot was occupied. The truck driver was irate and was making great use of his horn. Everyone wondered where the owner of the van was.
By the time I had parked and was in the Chinese restaurant to order my soup, the driver of the van had returned. Despite the horn blowing from the driver of the large truck, the van driver went about his job of bring cartons into a nearby store. He was so busy attending to his own work that he didn’t seem to care if he was impeding other people.
I can’t help but wonder how many times we get so busy with our own work, our own issues, our own perspectives that we fail to notice those around and, possibly, not even see or care about those around us. Do we impede others physically or even on their spiritual journeys?
A life-long Reformed Church member once told me that as a boy his faith was shaken when he was taught that true Christians do not smoke or drink alcohol. Later he saw the same elder who taught him this, smoking with a few other elders in town.
Another young woman told me that she hasn’t been in church since she was in high-school. While preparing for a “Children’s Service” the pastor asked her if she was “stupid” because she stumbled over a word while reading scripture.
More than two decades ago at a church in New York State there was a child who was playing with his toys in church a bit too loudly. A long time church member screamed at the child about respecting God’s house. She made the child cry and later asked consistory to teach children proper decorum while being in church. As pastor, I asked the consistory which elder should speak to her about showing decorum by example. No one volunteered. The feeling was that we simply could not offend a long time member.
I wonder if the future faith of that child was adversely effected by the disrespect that the old time member showed by screaming at a child, not realizing that there were kinder and gentler ways of dealing with a noisy child.
Do the actions of us grownups who claim to be Christian cause a blockade to others seeking faith? We lament that our children don’t participate in houses of faith but how often do we ask ourselves why? It is easy to fall back on the excuses that “there are too many competing activities now.” Maybe it is time to look at ourselves.
When a young woman is called “stupid”, when a young man sees elders doing what they teach should not be done, when a little boy is screamed at in a place that he is told is sacred, maybe we are the problem to young people becoming faithful.
Let those of us in Faith communities be mindful of Jesus warning. He told us that if anyone caused harm to a little child it would be better for that person to have a millstone hung from his neck and cast into the sea. Have our actions hurt the faith of little children? If so, maybe we need to repent. Let us make sure that we don’t stand in the way of the faith of others, especially the faith of little children.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please look at his website: