Have you heard the Casting Crowns song “Stained Glass Masquerade”? Here are some of the lyrics:
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
Arthur from “The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia” reminded me of this song with his post “Hiding behind our suits and smiles and status updates.” Arthur concludes his post with this:
The way we do church, gathering on schedule for an hour to â€œworshipâ€ leads to people hiding their hurting behind smiling faces and their Sunday best. We are rarely honest with each other because we spend so little time together. We need to get out of the pew and get into the lives and homes and families of other believers. We need to see what is going on behind the smiles because no one I have ever met really has it as together as they seem â€œin churchâ€. Brothers sharing over a cup of coffee, mothers sharing during a playdate, families spending time with other families. That is fellowship and community. Almost anyone can fake it for an hour and look happy. Those who canâ€™t wonâ€™t come because they feel out of place. We need to shed the artificial world of church and get the church out of the building so we can see one another at our worst, not just at our best.
Have you and the people you meet with been able to shed the artificial “stained glass” world that Arthur is writing about? If so, there are hurting people who need to know how you did it. And, there are people out there who have never experienced this kind of openness that need to hear your example.
How did you and those in your fellowship move past artificiality into the messy realm of reality?