The crying children.
This cacophony was not a marketplace, but a house of worship!
Every Friday our church is chaotic. But it was especially so this past week. There were 5 babies to be baptized, brought by families, cheered on by friends, many of whom don’t normally spend their day off in church.
The baptism promises were spoken.
Some will keep them.
Some will not.
The liturgy continued.
The creed was read aloud together.
Some from faith.
Some from habit.
The sermon was preached.
Just when I was about at wits end from the commotion, I understood.
This was the environment that Jesus taught in.
He didn’t demand silence or full attention from the crowds.
He was doing what the Father sent him to do. Saying what he was given to say.
I appreciated again the Christ-likeness of our priest. His huge capacity to be kind, to offer grace, to be a peaceful presence, to move towards his God-given purpose in the chaos.
I’m not like that. I have to work hard in church to attend to what Jesus is saying and doing. To refrain from judgment. To extend grace. To not run screaming into the parking lot! But I choose to stay. I don’t want to be like those first 12 followers of Jesus who told kids to be quiet and kept them from Jesus. Or like the crowds waiting for Jesus to arrive, expecting great miracles while telling the man crying to Jesus for healing to shut up. I have to embrace this experience as another aspect of my cross-cultural adjustment here. And as some mysterious and not very tasty medicine for my own healing. (Christ have mercy!)
We were invited to the Lord’s Table.
Some did not.
And all the while
Children ran around the aisles.
People moved to chat about business.
No attempt to whisper.
No recognition of a holy moment.
A holy place.
A holy Person.
But hymns played on.
Sung by some.
Ignored by others.
The man behind me was making noise, too.
His clear voice ringing out the truths of God in song.
Like a prophet’s voice raised above the harangue of the marketplace.
It’s a parable of the Church in the world.
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.
Jennifer is one of those people I wished lived next door. She's got something I need - the ability to hear God in chaos and to invite others into the chaos to hear Him, too. You're invited too. http://allthingshenderson.blogspot.com
I had to laugh. When I went to her blog to get the link, I saw that she's reviewing this book: Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World by Dr. David Jeremiah. How did the publishers know she was the perfect person for that job?
It's easy to pay attention in silence.