Set the Stage
A week ago, a group of volunteers descended on the church to transform the front of our sanctuary into a stage for “The Little Mermaid.” They moved the altar, the pulpit, they moved candles and the cross. Then they dismantled the entire altar area, taking the large, rectangular, wooden planks that make up our altar stage, and stacking them in the sanctuary aisles. This could seem like a rather thankless task, with a lot of heavy lifting – but there were about 25 volunteers who braved the cold of a winter’s Friday night to come out and help with this task. Hannah Berry took a video of the work, and then sped it up to give us a fun, 35-second, visual of the event.
I ended up showing that video at our Annual Meeting last Sunday, because I thought it was a grand metaphor for the ministry and work we get to do together as a church. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, and guided by our weekly connection with the Holy Scriptures, we ever strive to make disciples of Jesus Christ who wish to make a difference. Yes, we want to make a difference in our own lives, but also for countless other lives of people that we meet, or to whom we reach out either right next door or halfway around the world.
We decide on a ministry event, or we enact a program, like Confirmation or a book or Bible Study; or we undertake a service project, or plan and implement a mission trip. Or we plan a worship, rehearse some music, or host an Only With Littles (O.W.L.) event. In each case, we gather a group of committed people, and we move some planks around. We set the stage for such ministry. We begin working together to create the event, something that will give God honor, while also being a joy for us to experience.
In the case of the Little Mermaid stage, the volunteers used some past wisdom and tried and true traditions to remember how to reassemble the larger stage with its unique side sections. But I’m sure there were some new ideas incorporated, and new bolts, new chunks of wood utilized, plus repaired steps. Veteran volunteers worked side by side with newer volunteers, all of them enjoying a spirit of harmony, peace and joy! As to that last point, I did go check with Leann Thompson who was here that night, and asked her about harmony, peace and joy. She verified it. “It was all joy; it was all joy,” she said. The ministry participants had a lot of fun together, and in that I rejoice!
And one more way to stretch the metaphor is to say that the people were fed and nourished too. Just like we regularly do with our worship life, the people received sustenance, strengthened for their task – they had taco bowls! All along the way, they transformed the church, but I trust that the church was helping them be transformed too, as friends and fellow disciples, committed to a task to help our church sing, dance, and tell a story. In the coming month, a very large inter-generational team will stand upon that stage, or play in the pit next to it, or work from backstage or at the sound and light desk. This group will present the joyful task they’ve been working on this winter, and so perform a wonderful story for the enjoyment of the audience. To top it off, the proceeds help fund summer mission trips.
These musicals are very interesting ministry projects, and they serve as an interesting metaphor for Family of Christ in its overall ministry. I love how they involve young and old while mixing hard work with joyful fun. Thanks again, Hannah, for creating this video. And thanks Family of Christ for continuing to enhance our church life with creative ministry adventures. Let’s keep setting the stage for all the discipleship we undertake in Jesus’ name.
See you in worship this week! ~ Pr. Josh