I AM A VISITOR
You’ve seen me many times … with many faces, many forms, and many reasons for being in your Church. Perhaps I have been studying the Word of God and the Lord lead me to your Church. Perhaps my life has fallen apart and I’m homeless and have not bathed in weeks nor eaten in days and have come to your Church to find answers. Perhaps I’m backslidden and trying to find my way back to God.
From the moment I walked into your doors, I’m frightened and in anticipation of what I’ll find here. Will I find the answers to my
problems! Will the people here be kind to me or look down their noses at me because I’m different. I’m a sinner.
Your ways of worship and praise are unfamiliar to me. I’ve heard of your type of churches before, but am accustomed to a quieter, more serene type of service. Please understand that often when I withdraw, it s only because I’m trying to figure you and your ways out. When I don’t clap my hands or when I struggle through the songs, I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m learning. When I ask questions of why you do the things you do, I’m not trying to be insubordinate, I’m just not accustom to doing things that way.
When I don’t go to the altar or when I do go and don’t perform to your expectations, it’s not that I don’t want to belong or join, I’m just counting the cost. Will I lose my identity! How much of my life will change! Is this really the right way! Are these changes necessary! Is this really for real!
And … Oh how I want you to be warm and friendly. I want you to know that I bring with me a personality, not just a sinner looking for God. I’m unique!
I’m suddenly hypersensitive. I can be devastated by a blunt word or a funny look from anyone in the Church. Your form of worship, your concepts of the Godhead and your new appearance may be routine to you, but I’ve never been exposed to them before. By walking through the doors of your Church, I’ve journeyed into a place that could make me or break me.
It may be that my sensitivity is exaggerated, but when I come into contact with you, please make me feel welcome. Let me know you are glad I’ve come to your Church. No matter what my appearance or my condition.
You may say “You’ll catch on, things will turn around for you now that you’ve made that step toward God.” Well I’m telling you, I don’t understand the full idea of God and need your testimonies and good examples of Christian love to show me I can and I have made the right step.
Never forget, you’re a symbol of people who love unconditionally, know the true meaning to joy and peace in Jesus and can help me with my problems. You can help me pray through to the Holy Ghost, teach me the importance of baptism and a repented life. I’m totally dependent on your knowledge, your good will and your compassion. You cannot, you dare not, change.
(The above material was published by THE MISSISSIPPI TORCH, February 1993)
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