It has gotten cooler over the last few weeks. Yesterday it was 45 degrees when I set foot in the door of the church. It is great weather with cool mornings and warm days. Last night I even had stew, a winter meal. As I ate I thought about the goodness of the mixture of meat, vegetables and seasonings. Since I cook with "a little of this and a little of that" no batch of stew is quite the same. But it is good.
The simplicity, wholesomeness and basicness of stew is something I relish. When I was in North Carolina last month I marveled at the consumerism, the competition and the glitz of many of the churches I passed. I know during Easter it will be a full-on push to provide the entertainment that our society so craves. Last night I watched a special segment of 60 Minutes about how the consumer electronics industry is totally focused on capturing and keeping our attention on our devices, using hi-tech methods such as gaming-technology to basically addict us to our electronics (cell phones, computers, gaming devices). I'm sure none of you have seen this trend. But as I drove by those churches I wondered if the church is any different? There is nothing basic, wholesome or Biblical about some of the consumerism we encourage as Christian congregations. I wonder why we are so caught up in the "show" that we seek another show rather than the reason for the show?
During Holy Week, the week before and including Easter, I will relish another kind of stew. I will enjoy our people at AUMC and all of our interactions. I will enjoy the simplicity and wholesomeness of our Maundy Thursday Service (7pm Thursday) where we remember the first communion that Jesus called a "New Commandment." As we worship there will be a "stew" of people from all walks of life, perfectly seasoned and mixed by God's hand. On Friday (7pm) that mix will continue as we ask a musical question, "Were you there?" at the Tenebrae Service. We will do our best in both of these pure worship times to tell the story of the Cross and allow you to experience the highs and lows of this very Holy Week. I hope simplicity and purity of intent continues on Easter morning as we approach the level ground of the Cross. We want to be that place (the Church) Paul was a true "stew" where there are no distinctions among people ... just a rag-tag gathering of fellow beggars looking for the bread of life. And we will find that bread in Jesus ... a perfect compliment to the stew of the Church! Randy