As we weaved back and forth up and down the street making our way to the Historic Depot area, I couldn't help but wonder about the life stories of each of these individuals. People from all walks of life came together for one common purpose--breakfast. The overcast skies did not dampen the spirits of the attendees, and it was an orderly and pleasant experience. So what is the huge attraction of this event?
There are many components to the success of this venture. It is well-organized. It is fascinating to see thousands of people being fed in a matter of minutes. It is interesting to see the batter for the pancakes being mixed in a concrete mixer. There is music and entertainment. It could also be that you just want to say, "I have been there and done that during Cheyenne Frontier Days."
Have you ever imagined why our churches don't have lines like this? Our churches provide us with much more than a free breakfast. We have the opportunity to encounter the living God through the proclamation of the Sacred Scriptures. Why aren't we seeing our churches flooded with an over-flow of people desiring to be nurtured by the Word of God and to be nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist? We will walk blocks and blocks and stand in line for nearly an hour to receive free pancakes, but our enthusiasm to meet Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament can sometimes be less than stellar. How have we arranged our priorities in life?
As I see stadiums filled with people at sporting events or concerts I sometimes wonder what we have missed in church leadership. Is there something from a sociological viewpoint that we have neglected in regard to building a faith community centered in a common purpose and guided by God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit? Why are there so few truly vibrant church communities?
Obviously, Cheyenne Frontier Days are about entertainment. The parades, the breakfasts, the rodeos, the concerts, and a multitude of additional events set the stage for an enjoyable time. (There is also no doubt that the economic boost to the local economy is immense.) I don't want our churches to be entertainment venues, but it would certainly be nice to see this type of energy, life, and vitality among the body of believers. Can you imagine the impact we would have on the world if we would bring the transforming love of Jesus Christ to others with such zeal and exuberance?
"Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer." (Romans 12:11-12)
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)