Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…” Acts 2:3-4
The life of faith is a complex endeavor.
There certainly are days when I feel adrift, when I “knock,” but it seems as if no one there are to answer. Those are the spiritual valleys that I attempt to make my way through as quickly as possible. As I do, I trust that God is guiding me, graciously providing the strength I need to persevere.
And then, there are other times when I am awash in image and metaphor and the Spirit has me engaging and thinking through almost everything I see around me.
For instance, one I evening I strolled into church for a meeting. As I made my way through the narthex, I saw a sign resting on a table. That sign read, “Lost and found: can any of these belong to your child?” The table contained a small pink purse, a toy truck, a toy car, a couple of “pop its,” and one mini “etch a sketch.”
My mind raced. What might this little display say about our congregation? Well, at the very least, there are plenty of little ones here. They bring their toys to worship; it is a reminder that we all have something to bring. And odds are, while they at church, these children of God are sharing what they have brought with others.
Though something must happen to these children during their time in worship. That something has to be significant enough to allow a child to forget themselves a bit, and then leave behind a toy that was previously quite important to them.
Perhaps one of these children took the scripture lesson, “where your treasure is there your heart will be also,” so seriously, that they went ahead and left their whole purse at church. Wow, that’s an expression of radical generosity!
And now, these toys sit on a table in the narthex, as a gracious reminder that tables are special places for us. At the table, a mystery unfolds before us in the hope that the nagging questions in our lives can be answered. As the plate and cup are lifted, bread and wine are changed… so that they might affect a change in us. Those who are lost and lonely, are found as they are joined in communion with God and neighbor
Yes, even the lost and found display in the narthex matters. The world around us is often pointing to something beyond itself, so that we can consistently know the encouragement of God’s presence in every circumstance and situation.
Question for reflection: What’s the most important thing you’ve ever left behind at church? An umbrella, a casserole dish, or maybe your little one?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Saturday evening our spoken word service with Holy Communion begins at 6:00.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 9:30.
Have a safe and blessed Labor Day celebration!
Yours in Christ,
God of new life, when we feel far from you, when our prayers won’t take shape, and when we sense that we are more “lost” than “found,” send the fire of your Spirit to set our hearts ablaze again. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.