I heard a comedian say, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…, unless you call it a stink weed.” I don’t remember the comedian’s name but that line stuck with me, because it made me laugh. But also, because there’s some truth to it. The name of something can indicate a preconceived idea or quality of the thing.
Next Sunday is “Back to Church Sunday.” Some parishes are doing back flips trying to come up with a “better” name. Like if they re-named Aspirin more people would by it. Back to Church Sunday is an internationally known brand that has a great deal of research attached to it. It has proven to be a success.
It is true that a phrase like, “back to Church,” may not sound suitable for an invitation to someone who has never been to Church, but when asked, these people say, “no, I get it; I’m being invited to Church.” Some people say it sounds as if we are scolding people, like demanding that they get back to Church. But when asked, people say that they appreciate the invitation and don’t perceive any judgement, demand or inappropriate connotations to the idea of “Back to Church Sunday.”
So, we’ve stuck with the title, “Back to Church Sunday,” because it’s recognizable, meaningful and above all, it works. It’s a way better title than, “Back to Stink Weed Sunday.”
If we all ask someone to come to Church next week and just a few say yes and actually come, then there’s a chance they might deepen their relationship with God. Every Sunday is Back to Church Sunday. We all come back to where the community gathers for worship and we are free to bring anyone with us. The St. Paul’s Church community is fast becoming known as a place where we actually mean “everyone” when we say, “Everyone is Welcome.” Please invite someone – anyone (who is currently not attending worship somewhere).