We were at a car boot sale and my wife spotted two Sombrero’s “they’d be good for assemblies” she said (it is true I do have a big box of wacky fun stuff for assemblies) but I can’t recall Jesus meeting up with a couple of Mexicans from my reading of the New Testament… A couple of days later, the coordinator of our Café Tots group came bounding over to me with a massive TV remote and said “I thought you could use this for Elevenses (our messy Church).
It made me think, what could I say about life and faith with an over-sized TV remote?
As I looked down at the buttons I thought of a few things, so I thought I’d share them here…
The mute button!
How many times in life do we just wish people who annoy us would just shut up?!
Yet as I thought some more about it, often the people who annoy me most, are the people who actually teach me the most, challenge me, make me re-examine myself and my reactions.
If I had a mute button on my life, I would only listen to people who I already agreed with I would never have grown, matured or developed in my relationship with God.
Then I began to think about living life with the pause button… those important things we know we ought to do but are putting off, that person we need to apologise too, that conversation we need to have, that thing we need to do, that challenge we respond to, that act of compassion we should do…
What is on pause in your life?
Perhaps today is the day to press ‘play’?
The problem is that thing placed on pause, rarely gets played out…
If I had a fast forward button, how many life shaping incidents would I ‘fast forward’ and not learn those lessons learned in dark and uncomfortable places, which although painful have grown and developed me?
One thing I noticed was how young people longed for Soul Survivor each year (often to get born again, again each year) -full on for Christ for a week every year and yet not managing to ‘do life’ following Jesus the other 51 weeks of the year. The Christian life was not meant to be lived skipping from one mountain top to the next. Of course it is easy being a Christian when you are in a field with thousands of other Christians, or on Sunday night, but most of the Christian life is not spent in a festival field or perpetually in a Church bubble; following Jesus as Christian must work as well on Monday as Sunday night, it’s not about how high you feel at a festival mountain top but what you are like in the valley that really shows what your faith is made of.
Yet the button that made me think most was the rewind button.
I want people to believe that the Churches best days lie ahead of them, not behind them, the danger of living in the past, with your finger on the rewind nostalgia button.
There is an old Native American saying: “We don’t own the land, we inherit from our children and grandchildren…” Just as with the Church and Spirit, we don’t own them, but we are called to faithfully pass on to the next generation, but are we ensuring that our children and grandchildren are receiving something in a better state then we received it?
In fact, in the ordinal, ministers are called to “proclaim afresh to each generation” yet sadly we simply “proclaim again” pulling from our reserves, not looking for today’s bread of revelation. I remember as a teenager looking back whilst running for a bus, and ran straight into a road-sign, when you are looking back, you cannot move forward effectively and fruitfully.
You cannot live life with your finger on the rewind button.
My Grandfather would talk about giving his life to God in 1957, and tell his testimony of going forward at a Billy Graham Event, but the question I always wanted to say was “well, great, but what is God doing in your life NOW?”
You can’t live your Spiritual life in the past, the challenge is to press play and live out your faith with Christ without pauses, gutless fast forwards or unhelpful rewinds.