I have had a song stuck in my head all day. You know how that goes. You hear a song on the radio and all day long, out of nowhere, you catch yourself singing a line of it out loud, and everyone wonders where that came from. Today, I have Don Henley in my head, singing “The people all said, “Sit down! Sit down, you’re rocking the boat!” “What are you singing,?” a friend asks, and I realize I have been singing out loud. Again. Embarrassing. But, the image of a guy standing up in the boat and everyone else grabbing onto the sides and screaming for him to “Sit down!” stays with me. Everyone wants to feel safe. Everyone wants to feel secure. No one likes to feel the boat shift beneath them. So, when one guy stands up and the boat begins to rock, everyone else tries to get him to sit back down, to stay in his place.
Church buildings have often been compared to a boat: the rafters representing the hull, and the place where the people sit called the nave, from the Latin navis, which means ship. The image is of a group of people all on a journey together, always moving forward, carrying the message of Jesus to those who haven’t heard. But, what happens with boats sometimes is that they get stuck in one place: they run aground, and just sit there, and it gets comfortable. And, if someone stands up and threatens to rock the boat – get things moving again – people start singing, “Sit down! Sit down!”
Jesus was a great one for rocking the boat. He was always standing up, shifting the way people thought about things, changing the way they were doing things, threatening to turn everything upside down. And, people didn’t like it, not one bit! They grabbed onto the familiar with both hands and clung to it, all the while, screaming at Jesus to sit down and quit rocking the boat!
He’s doing it, still, in his Church today. Jesus just won’t sit still and let us float peacefully along, in the same old boat, in the same, old direction. He is always standing up, showing us new ways of thinking; new ways of being Church – shaking us all up – turning everything upside down.
The boat’s rocking at Zion! Jesus has stood up, and, thank God, we have chosen not to waste precious energy trying to get Jesus to sit back down! Instead, we are busy testing the waters and feeling the winds of change, listening to the Spirit’s guidance and preparing to head off in another direction! It’s an exciting time to be the church, and I covet your prayers for the Vision and Mission Task Force as they lead us in discerning God’s call for us. Where ever the Spirit leads, we know we can trust God to provide us with the means to get there! So, loosen your grip on the side of the boat, and get ready to enjoy the ride! Your boating partner, Pastor Barb <><
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…Mathew 28:19