Pick up a vacuum cleaner

Several years ago I heard a story about a woman who visited a church.  She liked the service, enjoyed the people she met, but at the end she decided not to attend the church because the floor in the nursery was dirty and needed a thorough vacuuming.  When she told her experience to a pastor friend, he responded, “maybe God was calling you to that church so you could vacuum the nursery.”

We are conditioned by our society to be passive consumers of religion and church.  We want to come and be delivered a certain experience and if we aren’t, we leave.  But that isn’t what the church is supposed to be–it isn’t a place or a staff, but rather the fellowship of believers in a place.  Sometimes we are called to pick up a vacuum cleaner and make a better church.

Today think about your own community.  Where are the places you are being called to pick up a vacuum cleaner?

About Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan Sutterfield is a writer and Episcopal seminarian sojourning from his native Arkansas in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us, Farming as a Spiritual Discipline and a contributor to the book Sacred Acts: How churches are working to protect the Earth’s climate. Ragan’s articles and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines including Triathlete, The Oxford American, and Books & Culture. He works to live the good life with his wife Emily and daughter Lillian.


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