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.


  1. Sometimes we think because we are busy that we are being productive. Not always so. Many times we are like the hamster in his cage going around and around and around on his wheel, keeping busy but going nowhere. The Stepping Stones process, to me, is about following God's direction for us, a direction where we aren't spinning our wheels....but moving forward.

  2. am I suposed to follow Amy's blog comment? She is the gifted, super mom, computer savy, get the picture. I am sitting here as a soon to be blogger about our McWorld and how it impacts and misdirects our lives away from our Triune God.
    What are my assest/skills to be competitive with Amy? Way senior citizen, computer klutz, Bible intellectual minimalist, etc. This is going to be tough. I have to be best or I won't be loved and respected. Maybe if I loose maybe 30 pounds. Maybe I get a toupee.
    Maybe a new Ferrari. Maybe I ditch diet Pepsi for that new Gatore Aid stuff. You know, that 3 step program that makes you stop sweating. The diet Pepsi thing sure hasn't helped much.
    Stay tuned. Maybe I can come up with a quick fix, something really tricky that will get me on top.

    Love you Amy!


  3. Larry... you were too BUSY, RATTLED, AND WEARY to write this entry. God really likes you and just wants you to come to church to make our community richer and more wonderful. (And of course to complement me! Ha!) But that is where the Bible hits the road, right? God tells us to "Be STILL and know that GOD is GOD." Not so easy when we are trying to run around controlling, everything. Be still... I still gotta' work on that.

  4. Here are some comments I received from my friends in Munster, Indiana at a church in our Presbytery (Westminster). Here is what they had to say about our blog!

    From Chris:
    Nope.. can't read it... too busy!
    No, seriously. Love your blog! After coming off a weekend where I was coming down with something but still managed to: watch my friend's kids, go to the night at the museum with Natalie (and get no sleep), go to church, work for 3.5 hours, watch the Bears get embarrassed, and do laundry - it's no wonder I am home sick today!
    Bruce had an interesting sermon talking about how we spend our time. (Using the Steven Covey diagram of Important-Unimportant/Urgent-Non urgent.) We get overloaded on things that are Important/Urgent and then escape by spending time on the Unimportant/non-urgent when we should be spending time on the Important/non-urgent. This is where we get refreshed, recharged and renewed. This is where we worship, feel uplifted and can spend time praising God. Makes you think!

    From Jennifer:
    I've always felt that some times are moments of meditation in the desert, and sometimes its the time to be hungry, hot, and tired while giving it all to some work. For me the key is to do everything for the glory of God. And know when to let go of some things. With our move and homeschooling we have cut back on a lot, yet increased the intensity of what we are doing. With as busy as we are, I strangely feel more balanced than ever before.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.