Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bird Sanctuary

Sunday morning the sun rose with pink and orange fire, silently brilliant across the sky. Our family toddled noisily through the silence of the morning and were buckled into the car. "Why do we have to go to church?" my five year old whined. Being strapped into stiff clothes, child car seats, and a five point harness, the question was a fair one. There was little choice about his clothes, the seat, the seat belt, or the destination. However, he rarely complained about going to church . . . surprisingly he likes going to church.

I tried to duck the question with distraction, "look at those birds up on the high wire looking at the heavens." This time diverting my son's eyes did not divert his question, "Why don't birds have to go to church?"

Ok, there was no escaping. This was the pre-game for repeating this question all the way to church. An endless game of, "But why Daddy?" "I don't want to go" "Why do we have to go." So, I had to audible a blitz on his questions.

"The birds are already in church," I said.

"Hugh?" he cocked his face and wrinkled his nose.

"Sure they are already in church. They are always in church."

"How can they be in church?" he asked.

The best way to answer a five-year-old's question is usually another question. "They are outside under trees and flying through the sky. Who made the world?"

"God did."

Yes, that is right. God made the sky, sun to rise, trees to raise their branches, and wind to blow. They are exactly where they need to be worshiping God in all that they do.

Humans, while somewhat different, could learn from the birds of the air. We are always in the sanctuary of God.

Long before we strap in to a new day - Sunday or Thursday, comfy cloths or starched - we have the skin that provides sanctuary to God in a world that is his sanctuary. How we sit on a wire and watch the sunrise on Sunday and how we respond to voice mail on Monday is as much worship at pew sitting.

Sunday worship then begins to look like a whole different skyline. It is not a "have to" but a chance to fly with other creatures and explore how we might better worship God in every moment. Birds, sunrises, seat belts, and children included.

When our worship becomes strapped human routine, it will be the sky that worships because "the heavens declare the righteousness of God." Jesus himself said that rocks will speak if we refuse to speak. I will be watching the birds, soaking in sunrises, and laughing with children. Because if I listen closely enough I can hear a crescendo much larger that the worship I attend, prefer, demand or ignore.

May you find sanctuary in God and may God himself find sanctuary in you.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What's Missing

The event set sail tonight, but what was missing? We were not missing great worship thanks to Steven Moore. He warmly led an inspired group in worship. We were not missing great preaching. Jerry Taylor brought the message powerfully and eloquently. Yes, we were missing Royce Money, but that simply could not be avoided with an honoring of Representative Bob Hunter elsewhere in the country. Jack Reese fit the bill eloquently. So, what were we missing? The center screen with the video backdrop. You know, the one that displays the theme. It was absent due to missing hardware to hang the video projector.

These are the things I never noticed about lectureship. Missing screens, how the greenery magically appears, the height of the stage, and other invisible details behind the scenes. That is where prayer is a priority. Not as a magic fix to life's issues, but as the reminder that each breath of life is given from a creator. The invisible details of our existence are easily overlooked, when they should be offered in prayer to a God who makes the sun rise and set.

Prayers of The Green One

I wore my green shirt today. It just seemed the symbolically correct way to go. This week I will be observing Lectureship from the inside. You might want a voyeuristic look behind the curtain. Sure I saw the sun rise this morning (and many more worked through the night), but all hard the work took place in the twelve months prior to this sunrise.

I packed my purple tie because tonight Jack Reese will introduce me as the new Director of Ministry Events. Tonight will be a great beginning to the Lectures with Dr. Jerry Taylor getting things rolling. Thousands will come to welcome the words of the Prophet Micah. If only he could experience the kind of welcome he will receive this week. Prophets are usually only welcome long after they are dead. So, it is appropriate that we honor this words. Micah would likely not be impressed with our red carpet rolled out for him. Prophets like to make a fuss. They do not wish to be pampered. But we could count on him bringing his message of performing Justice, loving Mercy, and walking in Humility with the one true God.

Tomorrow morning will begin with prayer. Jacob's Dream will be the site for morning prayers beginning at 8 a.m. This quite place will prove to be the intersection between human and divine. Prayer is our response to God's action in our lives. In years past, the ACU students have taken on the task of praying for every class presenter and keynote speaker. This year it is not happening officially. Instead, I will be praying for lectureship non-stop through the event. I will be praying for speakers, teachers, vendors, food service personnel, participants, and others. You are welcome to join with me in praying that God's Kingdom arrive in big and small ways throughout this week in ways that will strengthen God's activity in homes, churches, and workplaces throughout the world.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Director in the Shadows

The ACU Lectureship countdown has begun. This year I get to watch the behind the curtain events. I don't know what to expect. The schedule is intense. Anytime it takes a year of build up to plan and pull off an event one can only imagine how the seconds matter at the event.