Me: Hey Steve, I have an idea for your next film.
Mr. Spielberg: Who is this?
Me: You don’t know me, but, as I was saying, I’ve got a fantastic idea!
Mr. Spielberg: I’m busy today, but feel free to contact my agent. Goodbye.
Me: If I may say so, Steve, you’re throwing away a great opportunity here.
Mr. Spielberg: Call me again in about five years. Thanks for calling . . . click.
Since that imagined scenario prevented me from making the call, certain that I wouldn’t get him to hear me out, I’ll tell you, here, what I wanted to say: My idea is a great saga of a massively gifted people living oblivious to their true story. This people, due to ignorance and having fallen for lies and distortions of their story, attempted to be successful by doing what seemed right. As their story evolved, many new, competing ideas popped up as to the definition of ‘right.’ They were known as People of the Story, but so many details had been twisted or altogether forgotten, that they began creating little peoples of the story, soon becoming disconnected from each other, even suspicious of each other, even going to war with one another! The irony is that, throughout many years, they continued to carry the Story with them. Each new small people group startup was in possession of the Story, too, but lived small ‘t’ truth without checking back for capital ‘T’ truth. They all tried to remember what they could, but it got harder and more complicated as time went on and as the number of small people groups grew. (I know this sounds like an impossibly long, depressing tale, but it does gets better. Maybe I’ll write more about it another time.) My brilliant filmscript may never make it to the big screen in part because my imaginative plot, with all its detours and ‘adventures in missing the point’ would simply be too unbelievable and probably no actors would turn up for a reading of such dismal history. And here I was thinking it might get produced as a Trilogy!
(Sorry for the rabbit trail!)
Let’s leave that behind for now and focus on our role as the Church of Jesus in today’s world. The year, 2022, is winding down with the annual wind up of holiday celebrations, parties, food, decorations, gifts, nostalgic music heard only at this time of year- and lots of travel! It feels, especially here in America, like we get forcefully absorbed into the ‘Holiday Season’ right about now and don’t emerge until sometime after the New Year, pledging, once again, that next year will be different – enter the great and shaming, 2023 New Year’s Resolutions!
(Oops. Rabbit trail.)
Can we, though, pause to reflect before being swept away by the tinseled gaiety and commercial usurping of the True Story? Can we be like the original People of the Story, swept away by genuine celebration and worship and fellowship? Can we proudly take up our Kingdom citizenship, letting Jesus drench us in His aroma? Can we plan now to live out loud our Advent themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, which we’ll soon revisit? Can we think how we might be found effectively gossiping the Good News throughout the season? With that in mind, see y’all tomorrow, 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM. PD