The people in the seats were laughing.
But I didn’t think I said anything funny.
Finally – someone FROM the seats called out to me, “You just compared God to Budweiser.”
My response . . . “I don’t know why that is funny.”
Their response . . . “It’s beer!”
There is a theological meaning to all that!
Before you lump me into the category of being a heretic,
please listen to at least the first ½ of the message from Sunday. (www.headingwest.org and click on previous messages, then “Puppy Love.”
After worship there was a group joking about how they were going to write a book with all the bizarre, insane things I’ve said.
Here’s a few they mentioned:
From a message the Sunday after Christmas, 2014:
“And think about it! Mary (mother of Jesus) had to be just a little bit post-partum.”
God probably told him, “Man up, Moses, and put your big boy pants on.”
“And the shepherds were the lowest class you can imagine. They were so far from the aristocats of the society! Think about what a message that sent to the people that the angels would appear to them – FIRST! Cats . . . Cats . . . Hmmmm, that doesn’t sound right, aristocats. OHHHHH MY GOSH! It’s AristocRATS! NOT CATS!”
“We welcome you tonight to West. My name is Andrea. I’m the pastor and we are so glad you joined us this evening for the Christmas Eve service as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. . . (LONG PAUSE) . . . after, of course, we celebrate his birth. Oh My! It’s been a long Advent Season and I do realize we need to let the birth happen before the death and resurrection. So . . . let’s try again . . . Good evening . . . my name is . . . ”
And then there was Sunday’s reference to Budweiser and God.
My hope is that my life . . . my words . . . pretty much everything that I’ve got, do, and say will somehow, in some way point others toward God.
And – the last time I checked, I am a real person.
So I’ve got “real” stuff – good and bad. Therefore I do not run from culture and try to be an elitist.
Rather I try to find a way to connect the two . . . the culture in messages . . . so that when people encounter those things in REAL life they will remember their personal journey with God.
And isn’t that what this thing called faith is about – helping all people encounter
and then grow in a journey with God?
Hoping that once we encounter God we will join alongside others that
are on their journey and we will combine our efforts to make an impactful difference in the community and world!?!?!
We ALL have our own journeys. They are not the same. And that’s ok!
(Now perhaps you are saying, “THANK GOD! Because really – who would want to think like that?!?! WHAT A MORON!”)
I seem to have a few “slips of the tongue.” No matter how hard I try NOT to . . . It just happens.
But it doesn’t mean my heart isn’t yearning to be in the right place . . .
Yesterday at the Ash Wednesday service I had the opportunity to pray one-on-one with folks.
One person said to me, Please pray I rid my self of gossip.”
As I prayed with the person, it was humbling . . .
I don’t have a “canned prayer” for giving up gossip so my brain was completely engaged in that moment with God, this person, and my own soul searching for the right words.
I think they ended up something like, “God, when _____ finds themselves in a place where they have the power of influence by what they say and how they use their words, please give them the strength and courage to do what is right; to use their words to build others up rather than tear them down.”
Lent is a time. A season.
And no – it isn’t a “second chance at New Year’s Resolutions” as I’ve read on some religious websites lately.
But it is a time for everyone to explore his/her OWN journey and see what it is that gets in the way of their being at one with God.
Today I read a few blogs criticizing what others “give up for Lent.”
I guess it stepped on my toes because one of the things mentioned as silly is one of the very things I chose to sacrifice.
I felt silly. I believe they suggested that those who do sacrifice things have totally missed the point of Lent.
With flushed cheeks and embarrassment I realized I needed to rewrite my weekly e-news article for the West folks that was going out in the morning. Because now they would all know I missed the point of Lent.
Then I remembered . . .
My sacrifice is my journey. While it may not have been a sacrifice for them, it is for me. Therefore, those words did not need to sting.
All this made me stop to wonder . . . my saying something accidental in a message on Sundays is one thing.
But words can sting.
I wonder . . . How many times do mine do the same?
Maybe THAT needs to be my focus for the next 40 days – and beyond . . .
The power of the tongue.