Well I confess that I missed out on writing last week with everything that we have going on around here. As I’ve been thinking about the sermon from two weeks ago on being present one image that occurs to me is from my short tenure as the coach of a U6 soccer team.
Now I make no claims to being a great soccer player or genius, but I can herd cats with the best of them and that was the primary skill needed in coaching children age 6 and under. It was a lot of fun, pointing kids in a particular direction and telling them to kick the ball.
There was one Saturday in particularly though that taught me a bit about showing up. Our game was at 9 a.m., and we generally asked our players to be at the field by 8:45. When that time came, no one was there. We waited, and a couple of kids showed up, but when 9 a.m. rolled around, we didn’t have enough to field a full team, and we had to forfeit the game. When I checked in with the parents later on, this child was feeling sick, while another was out of town, while still another just didn’t feel like coming that morning. They all had valid excuses, but for those of us who had shown up we were disappointed because we couldn’t play, and in effect had lost the game. That’s what happens when you forfeit — you lose.
Now when folks don’t show up for worship or bible study or other opportunities for gathering we don’t necessarily lose the game (although some might argue that point). But those of us who show up miss out on the opportunity to engage with those who don’t, and we lose out in the process. We miss out on your experience of God, and in that absence our knowledge of God is lessened.
There are other ways to think about presence and forfeiture. I’d like to think that those who fail to show up forfeit their right to complain . . . but I’ve been around the church enough to know that’s a dream, not a reality. 🙂 In the end though, I simply hope that we can understand that our failure to be present as a member of the body has an affect on the rest of the body. There are no lone ranger Christians. We all need one another, and the body suffers when a part of the body is missing.
I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you soon.