Many years ago I watched an HBO comedy special starring Alan King. King was a funny guy. A really funny guy. One of his stories was about his hospitalization after he collapsed following a performance. The diagnosis? “Complete exhaustion”. King thought that diagnosis was ridiculous. King said such a diagnosis was a rich man’s disease. No one would be able to get a bed in the hospital by simply walking into the emergency room and crying out “I AM COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED!” King was right about that. Hospitals are not for people who are not sick. King did not think he needed to be in the hospital. He was not really sick. But it turned out he was. He had cancer. It was discovered in the hospital, though that is not why he had collapsed. King ultimately had a large part of his lower jaw removed and replaced with metal. It was a hard time. But he was a funny guy and used humor to help him through the treatment. It helped. During his recovery he decided to use his humor to help others like him. He started to have an annual event at the hospital called “Laugh Well”. He believed that making people laugh, even in their darkest time, made them better, at least for a moment, and perhaps longer.
The church can be much like a hospital. And people can be much like Alan King. People might, like King, find themselves in church, not thinking they really need to be there. They might be “spiritual but not religious” and so have no need for any “religious” community. But if they pay attention, such folks might find that they do have a need for some religious “treatment”. They might find that they have a spiritual “illness” that can only be treated in a community of faith. The treatment plan might be as simple as an hour in that place one time a week. When they recover, they, like King, can be a source of healing to others as well. That is what a church is … and does.
In our world, there is a much chaos, pain, frustration and anger. That is our communal illness. The church can be a hospital to treat it. Come and hear about it Sunday, July 8 at 9:30 when Pastor Jeff preaches “What is a Church?” based on Ephesians 4: 17-32. Come and see.