the irrelevant church

“Jeff,” heralds the nurse. I stand up and move toward her, coat in hand, stuffing my phone into a pocket.

There follows a series of uncomfortable moments.

I step onto the scale. The weights clink as she shifts them, moving and awkward number of them to the right in order to offset my bulk on the metal plate.

“Thank you.” No, thank you.

We step into an exam room. Mouth open, tongue lifted in order to receive the almost sacramental placing of the thermometer.

Sleeve rolled up. The buzz of an electric motor as the band expands constricting my arm. I feel a heartbeat in my arm.

“Thank you. What seems to be the matter?”

There follows my awkward attempts to capture what in particular ails me.

The church is an exam room. 

The word pokes and prods us, looking for behind what we think ails us. We see symptoms. The Spirit exposes the causes.

Is the doctor’s office comfortable?

Is a pleasant consumer experience?

The ambience is perfect, isn’t? The magazine collection perfectly curated.

Quite the contrary.


We come to church to be exposed, to be known.

We are known by Him to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and no secrets hid.

We receive gospel medicine in word and sacrament. 

And when we meet other sin-sick people, we tell them that we know a good doctor.


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