I remember the time I was benched. I had learned what I was supposed to do in practice but when it got to be game time I decided to be "creative" in how I did my job. The coach wasn't amused. I got benched to think a bit!
While I was benched I had a chance to reflect. All sorts of emotions whirled through my head. Was I cut out for football? Anger at the coach. Anger at me. And, finally, resolve.
In that time of resolve I thought. What was really important? What do I need to learn about me, my team, my coach and my part in what is happening? You see ... I found the time on the bench as a time to learn and grow so that I could return to the team better than ever!
A few reflections:
1. We really haven't been benched ... we are still the Church. But we are definitely having that time to reflect and think about what is important, what team means, what our coach is teaching and what we can learn from all of this.
2. We are far less active than we would like to be. We are impatient to get back on the field.
3. But what can we really learn from this period of inactivity?
- Maybe we can think about what has and hasn't worked in the past?
- Maybe we can ask, what practices and traditions need to be changed or discontinued?
- Maybe we can ask Jesus, "How can I follow You better?
- Maybe we need to look at things like our practices and traditions and ask, "How do these things edify the Church (1 Cor. 12 ... the reason we have been given gifts for ministry)?
For the last few weeks we have talked about Jesus' post-resurrection appearances. During this time Jesus is shown as still doing miracles (including the miracle of forgiving wayward followers). He has given advice and instruction. He has told of a day when His Spirit will come and all of the disciples will be sent out into the world to do great things. Till Pentecost, they are benched.
I have a friend who has been working from home. She has saved money on gas, child care, wear-and-tear on her car, and she has been getting her work done. I saw a special in which India's urban areas have actual clear air rather than their usual haze of smog. I have heard people talk about how they have learned to see life differently during this pandemic. And I have heard impatient voices that want everything back like it was.
I am totally in agreement with our getting back to work and productivity. And I long for worship with each of you as we share, sing, and do life together. But as we all go through this process, wouldn't it be wise ... even 'Christian' ... to think about what Jesus has been teaching us? Wouldn't it be a good thing to clean the barnacles off the good ship of Zion so that when we return we can sail with the speed and direction that we were designed for? Wouldn't it be great if we let God do what God is very good at ... bringing order to our chaos (rather than returning to the chaos and 'business as usual')? Wouldn't it be holy to allow our great coach to teach us and lead us back into a better life? Whatever your political perspective, please take a moment and pray that we will be teachable so that we learn, grow and become better through all of this. It is our Christian responsibility. It is our American heritage. It is our personal privilege. Let's re-enter the game better than ever! Randy