What silenced the thousand?

People do not come to church because they do not know anything about God.

This sentence was near the top of a scrap of paper I picked up off a table where it had been left. The point the author was making was that people who know nothing about God are unlikely to come to church. The task for laity, then, is not to invite people to church — not at first — but to praise God. Talk about God around people, and some of them will get curious.

You have to tell people about God before they are going to be interested in showing up at church to learn more.

As I carried around that scrap of paper today, I thought about the way we have so few qualms about behaving this way about most of the things in our life: TV shows, music, restaurants, funny cat pictures on Facebook, even political stories. People just won’t shut up about things they like, unless it is God.

As the people who sing “O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great redeemer’s praise” I wonder why we have so little to say?

2 thoughts on “What silenced the thousand?

  1. The people sang because they had something to sing about. The problem is that many times we do nothing today that would achieve the same results.

    We have allowed the televangelists and extreme fundamentalists to corrupt the message of the Gospel to the point where what is preached is too often the exact opposite of what the Gospel is.

    If we are to get the people singing again, then we must do exactly what Christ was going as He walked the Galilee – bringing hope to the people through the healing of the sick, feeding of the hungry, and the justice to the oppressed. That is not the message that the people are hearing today. What they are hearing is that they are condemned to death because they are not like the preachers. Yes, we are condemned by sin but the people already know that; what they don’t know and aren’t told is how and why Jesus Christ is the Savior.

    The poor are told that they can get out of poverty by giving their money to the television preacher. They see the fancy clothes and all the cars and think maybe that is the answer but sooner or later they realize that it isn’t and they blame God, not the preacher.

    Why was Billy Graham so successful? Why was George Whitfield so successful? Why was there a Methodist Revival following John Wesley’s Aldersgate moment? Because there was hope and with hope comes joy. The Holy Spirit was present. No wonder the people sang.

    Contrast that to the message that is given today in so many corners; is the Holy Spirit present? Is hope offered? And we wonder why the people don’t sing.

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