Sunday, April 22, 2012

Little Lesson: Board Games

 "It won't do for us to just sit around in our sanctuaries, entertain ourselves, sing our 'happy clappies' and feel good about ourselves," Chuck Colson once said. "This is a time for the church to engage the world...."

I remember when board games came in real boxes. Yes, I'm that old.  Board game boxes were sturdy, not like the ones now. The ones now seem to be made of some kind of starched paper.  It's not much fun when you pull the game out of the closet and the side falls out, spilling little pieces on the floor.  They tend to roll far away, and get stuck under the furniture and in the shag of the rug.

Board games came with rules. I don't remember them being in three languages when we played as kids, but then we didn't read them much anyway. We made up our own rules, depending on how much time we had until supper and how badly we wanted to win.  So, I grew up accustomed to those sturdy boxes, where everything stayed in it's place, neat and tidy.

Churches tend to be a little bit like those games.  All neat and tidy in their boxes, with really sturdy walls.

Not too long ago, some churches set up in school and other community buildings were threatened with eviction.  The church people sued, and as far as I know, they are still sitting in folding chairs right where they started.  Victory? No, I don't think so.

As much as I hate those new-fangled "not really cardboard" boxes, I believe we as the church might just need one of them.  We need the wall to fall out, so that we spill out all over. We'll get forced to roll under the couch, and blend into the shag rug.  It's dark under the couch, and I'll bet there's some stuff under there I would rather not see. And the shag rug, it might swallow us up whole, and we'll get all tangled up in the fibers. What a mess. And the dirt, and the smell, well some of us don't want any part of that.  Could someone please get some tape out and fix the wall?

When Jesus walked this earth, He didn't pen in His people. In fact, he sent them out.  And they went to people and places that were way far out of the "coffee and fellowship meal" crowd.   Imagine for a minute those churches who were temporarily "evicted". What could those hundreds of people have accomplished in their home towns on a Sunday OUTSIDE THE BOX?

Acts 9:36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. 37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 

There are so many people out there who are dead spiritually, just like Tabitha was dead physically. In order to make her well, Peter knelt down and prayed, then gave her his hand and lifted her up.  We can do the same for our "dead".  We can storm the walls, get down on their level, pray, and be the hands to lift our neighbors up and present them alive to Christ. 

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