There seems to be a great deal of lament in the church these days, in congregations as well as in the broader church. Sometimes the lament is over the fact that in broader society, church doesn’t command as much respect as it once did; that youth and young people aren’t showing up as often as they once did, and if they do, they're not engaged in the life of the congregation as much as they once might have been; that young families don’t seem to have much use for church; or that, just in general, not as many people are part of our life together as the body of Christ.
And that’s to say nothing of the increasingly hateful speech heard on our televisions and radios, which demonizes anyone whose opinion differs from the speaker's. We, as Christians, have allowed this conversation to continue; we have not spoken up to stop this tearing down of the body of Christ which, directly or indirectly, led to the awful events in Tucson yesterday.
When Christian people do not stand up against public rhetoric that is hateful and degrading of the humanity of our neighbor, then our faith has no meaning. When we don't stand up against this type of vitriol, then the Muslims who created a human barricade protecting Christmas worshipers in Egypt from violence are more Christian than we are, and our faith has lost its meaning.
We can lament the losses we feel in our individual congregations, and we can remain nostalgic for days when we felt like the church had a more prominent role in society. Or, instead, we can move through our lamentation and become once again a church that makes a difference in the world by building up the humanity of everyone, even (and especially) those with whom we disagree.