Nov 26, 2008

a thanksgiving thought for my church family

If you have a moment, there are three pictures I'd like you to look at.

You may not understand what it is right away, but don't worry... I'll tell you.

And more importantly, I'll tell you what it means.

We've been in our new building for about nine weeks now, which means that it is fresh and beautiful and ready for guests. One of the places we spent some time getting pretty was the Tween/Conference room... it's one of the first rooms people see when they walk in and so it only makes sense that we'd want to have that looking nice.

Here are a few pictures I took on Monday of the walls in that room.

This is a picture of an area close to one of our couches. Just enough for a chair to have sat in, like if a kid wanted to sit by their friend who was on the couch, only there wasn't any more room on the couch. So that kid put a chair next to it that rubbed against the wall.

This is a close up of that picture - you can see how it's not only a mark, but a dent in the wall, too.

Then there is this one - it looks like Dracula bit the wall... but it isn't. It's where a tween would have rocked back into the wall and made dents into it with his/her chair. Real good ones, too.

Now... let me tell you what this means.

It means we're doing something right.

How awesome is it that in a new building we have dents in the wall, marks on the paint, and paint on the floor (I didn't show you a picture of that, but trust me - we do)! It took us only two months to create some new work projects, even though some of our original projects aren't even done yet. That is so awesome!

You see, God has provided us with adults and tweens and teens and kids to take care of, invest into, and let them grow up in the faith. And being in the God business means we value people more than things... this building isn't the Church... people and God are.

Sure, we want to take care of this building and make sure that we're not sloppy on purpose. But will smears happen on accident? Absolutely - and if it doesn't, something is absolutely wrong.

Can you picture a Christianity in your life and mine that is just like that? Can you imagine what it would look like to not worry if you made a smear on the wall of your life because in the process of letting God give your life color you accidentally messed it up?

Sure, you want to take care of your faith and make sure that you're not sloppy on purpose. But will smears happen on accident? Absolutely - and if it doesn't, something is absolutely wrong.

It's easy to mistake such grace as license to not care, but obviously our choices do affect other people. But to realize that faith is spelled R-I-S-K and T-R-U-S-T and F-O-R-E-S-I-G-H-T takes risk, trust, and foresight,

So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for smears, dents, and spilled paint... both in the place the Church meets in weekly as well as in my own walk with God.

May this building and our Christianity never become a clean museum where masks are worn but always remain a well-used color palate that God keeps dabbing into to paint the world the colors it's really supposed to be. Because there are people who will walk through the doors of both, hoping that the dents and spills they've experienced can be remade and filled in by the Carpenter Savior we call Jesus Christ.


Anonymous said...

Did you leave out the pudding on the ceiling???? Oh the memories of that night!

Appreciate that you value to little things!

Bradley Buhro said...

Hey, Tony! It's been forever since I've seen or spoken with you, but I've been reading your blog here pretty faithfully. Thanks especially for this.

I mentioned it in my blog post on on "The Vocation of the Child." Your thanksgiving thought is an example of how the church should view children, even the playful, rambunctious, and prone to ding, damage or deface variety, as a blessing from God. Thanks again for your faithful writing.