Written by Becky Brown
I’m excited about our sermon series, All In: God’s Dangerous Invitation, that will be from May 13th through June 24th. As we work our way through the first part of Acts, we will take time to consider what life in the new community of faith looked like for the apostles and new converts to the faith. What did it feel like after Jesus left the disciples to figure it out on their own? Of course, they had the promise of the Holy Spirit, but I’m sure the fear of uncertainty and the unknown was still very real for them. They had to make the call: do we go for it, and trust that God will provide? If they were to make this choice, there wouldn’t be any opportunity to go halfsies. There was no “Christianity Lite.” They jumped in with both feet, and they did it together.
Our children are musical, and they often put on performances as their own rock band. We have plenty of kid-friendly instruments at their fingertips: drum set, tambourines, shakers, hand drums, echo microphones, ukulele, guitar, bells, and other random things that make noise. Quite often during free play at home, one of the older two will get on the drum set and start a beat. Another will start singing a song they both know – “It’s a long way, to the top if you want to rock and roll…” or “Glory to God, Glory to God, Glory to God Forever!!”, or “I’m still standin’, yeah, yeah, yeah”, or even “Lucy in the sky with diamonds..” Once the song is in motion, they add in instruments, and expand their composition. The song is usually composed by Caroline and Jack, with baby Wyatt doing his own thing as a passive observer. Yet, recently, Wyatt has started to join in the song. Now, he will grab the ukulele and strum it with everything he has. He’ll even attempt to sing using the few consonant and vowel combinations he has at his disposal at 16 months. He knows where the instruments are kept and makes a b-line to make his selection, because participation in the sibling song is not optional for him. He can’t help himself. He has to be a part of the song, because he’s their sibling and they’re a family, they’re connected by an invisible thread that can’t ever be broken.
There has not been a direct invitation for Wyatt to join the sibling song. He feels it from deep within. This is, nonetheless, a dangerous invitation. Sometimes his presence is welcomed with open arms, and his siblings are thrilled to have his musicianship. But, many times they are less than thrilled. They get upset when he chooses the instrument they wanted to play, they get upset when he sings too loudly when they’ve moved to a ballad in their concert, they might even hit him or push him away when he approaches. At any given opportunity, he could be met with complete rejection, be told he’s not doing it right, or be persecuted for trying. Being the youngest is a tough go of it. Yet, no matter what, he’s committed to the sibling band. He’s going to play with them because he can’t imagine not playing.
When God invites us to be the church, the invitation is dangerous. It’s dangerous from many angles. We might be criticized by others for being the church. We will be asked to live differently than we want to, or the way that is the most comfortable. Being the church also means other people choose to join us in jumping in and committing to be a real Christian community. Those other people might play the song wrong, want to play our instruments, or even take them out of our hands while we are playing. Other people might tell us we are playing the wrong song or might try to hijack our tune when we have a completely different style in mind. Yet, it’s our call to look at one another in the face and try to make the best music possible together. We need to welcome unfamiliar instrumentation or arrangements. There’s always room for more players in the song. We can always use more cow bell.