Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Not the Circus Type


As I absorbed all that was going on in a recent play, something jumped out at me. One of the characters, Ash, entered a once-destroyed but now cleaned up garden. The "misfit body of believers" from the Kingdom Circus was there, asking her if she'd come for the show ... the show for change. Ash responded that she loved to be entertained and asked where she could sit. The response she received was an unexpected one, at least for her...
"No, more like...join. Where do you join?"
Ash's response was pure gold...

"I don't want to join a circus. I'm not the circus type. Have no skills, nothing to offer. Why don't you just show me what you got. Go ahead, entertain me."
This scene popped into mind the following Sunday during the prelude as worship began. You see, it's usually during the prelude that I first read through the bulletin to see if we're singing any of my favorite hymns and if perchance there's an amusing sermon title before centering myself in prayer. I wondered what others do during the prelude. Are they praying? Or are they wondering how interesting or humorous ... and how long... the sermon will be; why the hymns have so many verses; what addition to worship there might be that will delay their departure; or what food awaits them during Coffee Hour... all things I find myself doing from time to time? Perhaps they're mulling over the latest gossip they plan to share after worship. I wonder how likely it is that most are essentially wondering how much they'll be entertained - what the church is going to provide for them today. 
I don't want to join a church. I'm not the church type. I have nothing to offer the church. Why don't you just show me what the church can give me. Go ahead, entertain me
That's what I heard, recalling Ash's lines. Do we (the church...not a building, but a people) gather for worship to be entertained or to praise God? Do we attend worship only to do what we're supposed to or get something out of it... or should we offer something more than money in the offering plate - help build community inside and outside of the church? Are we just going through the motions? Are we creating a superficial church that, should a storm hit, will wither and fall, or are we taking the opportunity to each plant a seed and do the work it takes to help it grow? As Claudia, the elephant in the garden, says...
"It is the planting, replanting, the time taken, the getting your hands dirty again and again that seems to be forgotten. It's the work, the greater mission. The faith that says to keep on planting, keep on working. And maybe someday it will grow healthy and will flourish and maybe produce new seeds themselves."
Perhaps instead of worrying about how much we'll be entertained or what we'll get out of being part of the church... we can consider what seeds we can plant, how we can get our hands dirty, how we can fulfill the greater mission of the church. 

Where do we start? 

Perhaps with prayer.

Perhaps with Beautiful Things (a song by Gungor, look it up!)...

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You.

You make beautiful things.
You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things.
You make beautiful things out of us. 

What beautiful thing is the Spirit leading you toward?

Are you ready to join?

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