Monday, March 18, 2013

Selection Sunday

I write my blogs so they are ready to post on Monday mornings, so by the time you read this, everyone will know who is in and who is out in this year’s men’s NCAA basketball tourney. Yesterday was Selection Sunday. 

There is usually general agreement about the top seeds and the traditional top tier teams. Everyone expects to ink in Kansas, Louisville, Indiana and Gonzaga. I like the teams that squeak in and get the last few spots in the bracket. For some of them the invitations are few and far between. I have to wonder which is more exciting–knowing you’re a shoe in, or waiting to hear your name called at the last moment?  

There will be lots of surprises again this year. There always are. That's why they actually play the games! Some Cinderella team will knock off one of the perennial giants, as David once again meets Goliath and…well, you know the rest of the story.

There will be buzzer beaters, causing both heartache and uncontrollable hysteria. I think the writer of Ecclesiastes knew a little about buzzer beaters when he wrote, “Time and chance happen to us all.” Sometimes the ball rims out; sometimes it’s nothing but net.

Then there are the schools that will be wallflowers this year at the big dance, no invitation for them. Not welcomed. They will have to wait for another year and another Selection Sunday.

Wonder what would happen if we had Selection Sunday at Sardis. You know, deciding or selecting who gets in for worship and who is not welcomed. Remember Will Willimon’s comment, “If you are not here on Good Friday, you don’t get in on Easter!”  

You may have noticed the words prominently displayed on our sign.  It reads, “All Are Welcome.” It’s never Selection Sunday at Sardis. No one gets picked to come and worship, while others wait outside. There aren’t any “top seeds” entering the sanctuary. No one has to improve and get better. At Sardis, we really mean all are welcome, in our church and in God’s kingdom.   

One of the most popular times for people to visit or come back to church is on Easter morning. And you probably know some people who would love an invitation to come and experience Sardis this Easter. The music will be stirring and triumphant. The sanctuary will look beautiful and the crowds will be filled with smiling, friendly faces. And we will hear the most glorious news of all–the promise of eternal life.

What if you said to a few acquaintances or friends this week, “Hey! Want to come to church with me on Easter?” It could be just the invitation they’ve been waiting for.


  1. thanks for your blogs Tom. I really look forward to them.

  2. Enjoy reading your blogs!

  3. What a great take on Selection Sunday and its tie with Sardis where "All are welcome." I love reading this sentence when I drive by the church. A sermon in 3 words...

  4. I am always amazed at what we, the public, are willing to pay to attend sporting and concert events (myself included). There's a country music extravaganza coming to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre soon and the cheapest "seats" are on the lawn at > $200 a pop. What if there were a charge to attend worship each week? Would we be willing to pony up for a chance to show our adoration for the Lord? Especially at Easter and Christmas when seats are at a premium? Imagine if we knew our Bible verses by heart like we know our favorite songs. Or as familiar with those in the scriptures as we are with our home team players? Think about the enthusiasm of the crowds. Wouldn't it be awesome?

  5. It's the Cinderella teams that most folks think don't deserved to be in the tournament! And none of us deserve a seat in the sanctuary every Sunday, but by the grace of God we are welcome to return week after week, despite how we play the game of life in between!
    I love March madness, I love spring and I love Easter!