Comfort is the new American value it seems. From shoes to clothes, chairs to automobiles, air conditioning to conversing through text or social media (instead of face to face), comfort and ease is what we value most. I’m there too!

I enjoy watching old TV shows (Perry Mason for one) and notice how people used to go around in dresses, sport coats and ties for everyday attire. “How could they do that?” I wonder to myself. “Weren’t they uncomfortable?” I imagine they were, yet the fashion and decorum of the day still prevailed. A far cry from today, where people show up to nice venues in T shirt and shorts… Today comfort reigns supreme.

Which brings me to the eclipse. Not having the foresight to buy eclipse glasses when they were plentiful, I felt fortunate to grab a last minute reservation for an Eclipse Party at a restaurant in downtown Raleigh. Eclipse glasses were supplied, but we had to sit outside… And it was hot. It was muggy and sticky. It was most uncomfortable.

I sat there at our table, sun beating and sweat beading, waiting for the moon to hurry up and move in front of the merciless sun! I longed for the reprieve of the air conditioning, just steps away inside the door, and did find comfort there a brief moment or two. But for the most part I endured outside, peering sunward through the funky glasses supplied.

For me, the eclipse was a “check the box” type experience. I’m glad I did it, but it was not an earth-shattering event. It seems 93% isn’t quite enough. I would have hated to miss it, and can now claim I fully participated in the Great Eclipse of 2017. If I had to be uncomfortable for a few hours to have that experience, so be it.

There are times when being uncomfortable is called for and required. For without that willingness, nothing changes. I would have missed the eclipse for one.

Which brings me to Alpha. In my sermon a couple weeks ago, I remarked that Alpha is our strategy for growth this fall. More precisely, our strategy is for you, the people of CTR, to bring someone you know, someone who needs it, to Alpha. It means you are the strategy! This means we are asking you to do something we know might be uncomfortable. I get that! I feel the same way too.

Inviting someone to Alpha involves both exposure and risk – things that are uncomfortable for us to consider and take on. Why would we do it? Because without that willingness, nothing changes!
-Nothing will change in the lives of those who might come to know the Lord or deepen their faith through Alpha. There are plenty of people at CTR whose lives have been impacted by it.
-Nothing will change in the life of our congregation, and the Kingdom of God will not grow.

Comfort is what we value and seek. We are blessed beyond measure to have that choice. Yet the danger of comfort is things stay the same. Opportunities are missed, and lives remain as they have been. There are times when a little discomfort is required, for without it, nothing and no one changes or grows. This is one of those times. I ask all of us to consider again: Who is it I can bring?

See you Sunday!