[forthright] Sameness

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 19:30:13 -0300
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

COLUMN: Thankful

by A.A. Neale

Pretty much the same faces greet me each week. The 
same preacher gets behind the same pulpit every 
Sunday. The same Bible school teachers take their 
turns in front of the class. 

Sure, there's turnover. Some folk move on, others 
die. People from the world are immersed and join 
our ranks. Once in a while someone falls to the 
clutches of the dark side. 

And there is a variety of subjects to study. The 
preacher does well in providing a balanced diet of 
sermons. Even the prayers, where in some locations 
are stale and rote, in our congregation, show 
forethought and preparation. 

But for all the variation, there is still that ... 

And it's a good thing.

Like the sameness of going to visit your parents 
after having been gone from home. You feel 
comforted and comfortable, an easiness that knows 
how to act and what to expect, a routine easy to 
slip into but not monotonous or dull. 

The church is like that. No unpleasant surprises, 
no drastic changes, no lurches to right or left. 
People among whom I can feel comforted and 
comfortable. I know the direction if not the words 
of brother John's prayers. I know the gist if not 
the specific phrases of brother Mark's teaching. 
And even though we vary the order of worship, I 
know how the prayers will be given an "Amen," 
how the singing will sound, how the Lord's supper 
will point us to the Cross. 

Like the sameness of the eternal truth, like the 
"Father of lights, with whom there is no 
variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17, 

In a world where every day reveals new and 
disturbing things, I need that sameness. 

And, if I were a betting man, I'd bet a lot of 
other folk need it, too. 

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