Monday, January 24, 2011
Rattle, Rattle, Thunder, Clatter by Amy Gardine
We come to church activities weary, rattled, and empty from hectic, out of balance lives. We come with little left to give. We are free to choose in every area of our lives, but what we fail to realize is that our choices then bind us. Often our choices block meaningful participation as the church.
WARNING: This blog entry is easily distracted.
Want to hear something funny?
BING BONG… Wait! I have to get the door! It’s the UPS guy.
OK, the funny thing. Well, I am writing on the hypothesis that we come to church with little left – that our hectic, rattled, out-of-balance lives keep us from full participation in the church.
RRRRRRINGGGGGG… Hold that thought. I have to get the phone.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the reason my particular hypothesis is funny. Right. Well, maybe ironic is a better word, since I am in the middle of four huge projects and I am not really feeling very focused on church. Who am I to write about church focus?
AUUGGHHHH…. Uh, sorry. I have to get a bandage. One of the boys just fell off his new skateboard. Ooops! Do you think maybe that is going to take a doctor visit?
I’m back! I was talking about…. uh… focus. Oh, right. Focus on church. Well, in the scripture for this week, the Jewish captives are being asked to sing songs of Zion while in a foreign land!
That reminds me, I have to send some letters to two separate locations – one international. Will that take double postage or triple?
Ooops. Sorry. I got distracted again. Where was I? Only the first scripture? Wow. All right. Here is what I will do. I will quickly tell you what I know:
* I know that I am in a lifestyle of constant beeps, buzzes, rings, knocks, honks, shouts, and the occasional bruised-ego-followed-by-a-scream.
* I know that I am supposed to be singing my songs to God and remembering the goodness and mercy I have received.
* I know that God can take care of me – I mean, look at those birds of the field!
* I know I have a long way to go before I slow down, stop worrying, and start singing God’s praises.
OK, in all seriousness, the list I have made is kind of sad, isn’t it? But this is what I sometimes do in my faith. I bullet-point my obligations to God and check church off the list. On my best days I get the kids to say prayers at dinner without giggles. On my worst days, I lose God somewhere between getting the kids out the door in the morning and getting them off to bed at night. But the good news is this: God doesn’t lose us and God has designed us for more. To me, the Psalm’s reference to a foreign land is less about location and more about lifestyle. We are designed for more than a check-list. Instead, we are called to be more like the Matthew passage. Leave worrying to God – it is covered! Revisit our homeland. We need to settle down and sing not only TO God, but also WITH God. Doesn’t that sound more fun anyway? In this rattle, rattle, clatter culture, it is an obligation that brings joy
This a light-hearted song by Sandra Boynton from her Philadelphia Chickens CD. Pay close attention to these specific lines:
“…and we have to do it faster,
or it never will be done,
and we have no time for listening
or anything that’s fun.”
In this culture that speeds us up, let us slow down, focus on God’s call, and sing a new song.