I heard about an interesting old tradition involving shepherds.
When a shepherd dies, a piece of wool is placed on his chest before he is buried.
The reasoning behind this tradition is absolutely fascinating.
Legend has it that when the shepherd dies and presents himself at the Golden Gate, St Peter will look at his book and say: “I don’t understand why this man expects to be admitted, because according to my book he never used to go to church.”
Then St Peter’s secretary will explain: “Yes, but you see, sir, there is a piece of wool on his chest, and that means that his reason for not going to church was that he was employed looking after his sheep; they need his tender loving care seven days a week.”
The legend continues as St Peter replies:- “That is quite all right then, please come in.”
If this legend were to be true there would be other people wishing to be considered – nurses, policemen, firemen, mothers looking after their children etc.
This suggests that if you give St Peter a good reason for not attending church it will be accepted – but it has to be a GOOD reason and not just an excuse!
Some people may try to argue that there is no need to go to church because they say that you can worship God in the open air.
But the obvious question following that comment is – “Yes, you can worship in the open air, but do you?”
John Wesley in the eighteenth century regularly preached to hundreds and thousands of people in the open air and he visited all four corners of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in his travels.
But today there are very few opportunities to attend open air services.
Take the example of a University Student. I am certain that it is quite impossible for students to pass all their examinations without attending any of their subjects’ lectures!
Why then, I wonder, do people think that they can be perfect Christians without ever attending Church on a Sunday, or any of the other Church activities?
How many Christians share their faith and beliefs with their friends and family?
Often, when you go to church the pews are half-empty and the energies in the church are lack-lustre but think what it would be like if the football crowd who sang passionately during their Saturday football match also attended church the following day and sang hymns with as much passion and gusto as they did when encouraging their football team to greater heights!
I can dream, can’t I?
With many peaceful blessings