The Last Word…

One of the things I love about summer is the chance to change my routine. Already this summer I’ve been the storyteller at VBS, spent a week in Nashville at the General Assembly, traveled to Iowa to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary and now I’m preparing for my role as a faculty member at Advance conference. I feel like I’ve already had a busy summer, and there’s still more to come!

Change, though often difficult for us, is usually a healthy thing. Years ago the Denver Zoo was offered the gift of a beautiful, large polar bear. The problem was that there was no existing room for the bear. The board of directors decided to build a magnificent new habitat for the bear, with plenty of room for him to run and swim and play. In the meantime, the bear was put in a small temporary cage. The space was so small the bear could only take three steps up, turn around and walk three steps back, day after day after day. Because of unforeseen delays, the construction of the habitat took well over a year. When it was finished it was beautiful – waterfalls, caves, and lots of room. When the polar bear finally entered its new home, it looked around, took three steps forward, turned around, took three steps back, turned around…

The Christian faith provides us with a vision of the world unlike any other. Through the eyes of faith, we recognize the world to be God’s creation and we know all people to be God’s children. Still, if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves walking in the same worn out ruts.

God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. That is what we witness to every time we gather in worship. Worship is the place where we are reminded of God’s power to make all things new. That is why it is so important we not neglect worship – during the summer or any other time of the year.

Bishop Woodie White of the Methodist Church in Indiana tells of a little bird in Europe called the chaffinch bird. These birds sing like canaries, but there is a strange thing about them: when people take them into their homes, the little songbirds soon forget how to sing. Then, when the birds forget how to sing, they get sick. If they are not taken back to be with the other birds in the woods (or wherever the congregate) to relearn how to sing, eventually they get so depressed they die. Bishop White goes on to say, “So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. Without worship, we lose our song, we shrivel up spiritually, and we die.”

During this season of re-creation and relaxation, when you put aside your normal routine for the different rhythms of summer, don’t forget that worship is the one constant that brings joy and meaning to everything else we do.