Every Sunday as I am heading to church at 7:30am to get ready to assist with worship or preach or anything else that I’m scheduled to do that day, I pass by something that creates questions in my mind. I pass by a flea market. It’s a large flea market. And people are setting up their wares – both outside the market and inside. There must be hundreds of vendors.
My wife passed by this same flea market this past Sunday around 9:50am on her way from our church to another church so she could play the organ there. She told me there was a line out the door – people waiting patiently to get in, probably pretty excited to be there. And I would guess they were regulars too – people who come to this flea market every week.
This makes no sense to me, which is why I’ve got lots of questions about this. I’m not one of those people who would be standing in line at a flea market – any flea market ever. And especially not on a Sunday morning, standing in line in the cold. It’s a different world to me. Just as my world is a different planet for these people.
I’m not looking for answers to these questions, but I feel that the questions need to be asked.
What makes people want to stand in line to get into a flea market, week after week, even in the cold? What’s the motivation? Is it to fill some kind of emptiness inside? Is it consumerism? Are the deals really that great? Is is a love of shopping? Is it a social event? Is it all of these, none of these and more?
What makes people want to set up and be outside at 7:30am in the cold on a Sunday, but none of these people would probably dare think about stepping inside a church? Why? Did something happen to them that rubbed them wrong? Do they feel that church is not relevant to their lives? Do they feel that church is boring? Has church ever been a part of their lives before?
I wonder what would happen if someone set up a mobile church service right at the flea market? Would people even go? Would they ignore it? Would they stop by as if it were some kind of other vendor? Would the church service get kicked out?
I wonder if any of the people at the flea market used to attend the church I am serving now. What caused them to such a dramatic change? Why a flea market? Is it somewhere that doesn’t ask you to change your life? Is it somewhere that accepts you for who you are? Is it more comfortable? Is it a place where you don’t have to confront your own faults? Is it somewhere that you feel more in touch with God? Or have these people given up on God? Or maybe they’re just spiritual now, throwing off corporate organized religion for something else. Do these people even think about God? Or is God just some nebulous idea – something out there somewhere, but not really having any impact on their life.