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Dear  _____ Church

 

You probably don’t remember me.  I was one of hundreds of students who attended your church during my four years in college.  We walked through your doors, we sat in your pews, we enjoyed your worship, your sermons, drank your coffee, we came and went via the buses you provided.  Over the years, countless thousands of students have breathed your air and taken up your space.

 

My reason for writing you is to apologize.  For all that you gave us, we never gave anything back.  We used your facilities, but never tithed a cent.  We enrolled in Sunday School classes, but never offered to teach (or help with e.g., nursery).  We enjoyed your worship services, but almost never helped out.  You welcomed us into your fellowship with arms wide open, but we kept our arms clipped downwards, huddling in cliques after service, stiff-arming you.  We did lip-service tokens of service like occasional acapella performances, but they tended to be of the min-commitment/max-limelight vein.  We were the kind of churchgoer I now despise, the parasite who offers nothing, expects the world, and takes everything for granted.  We came to be entertained and edified; we left having given nothing.  We were parasites, like the typical church youth, too myopic and self-centered to know better.  But we were older and should have known better, and for that, I apologize.

 

There is another reason why I’m writing you.  It’s to thank you.  Now that I am older and perhaps wiser, I realize what it cost you.  You sacrificed in real, tangible ways to accommodate us.  Real money spent to expand the church to be able to fit us.  Buses bought to transport us, people willing to take lessons, attain bus licenses, willing to wake up early to pick us up.  More teachers willing to prepare Sunday School classes to half-asleep, dozing ingrates.  Muffins and coffee prepared or purchased, only to have them gobbled up by students already on full meal plans.  So many examples: invitations to home meals, mentorship, allowing us to use your facilities for overnights, guidance, etc. etc.  You gave and gave and gave, and demanded nothing in return.

 

I was baptized at your church.  In my testimony, while standing in the water before the church, I thanked everyone but you.  You still clapped and cheered and cried when I came out of the water.

 

Thank you for modeling Christ to me, for truly demonstrating what sacrificial love looks like.  Years too late, but for what it’s worth:

 

Thank you.

 

(and here’s check covering what I should have tithed)

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