I am finding that, as a trainee Local Preacher (always capitalise the title), people want to talk to me. For some reason, just being one of the ones “at the front” endows me with something akin to that of a doctor, or a visiting dignitary. Why is it that being one of the ones at the front “endows me” with anything at all?
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” “ Matthew 23:1-12
Therefore … BUT! Therefore … BUT! Therefore … BUT!
Imagine if Jesus was here today. Would He be saying this … ? Therefore do what Paul teaches you – BUT … See how he is one of the ones at the front – BUT … You have one Father – one Instructor – and Paul is not it.
Today I am prepping a service for tomorrow with my mentor and tutor. I was sent an email. There are children present at the service tomorrow – it is unusual to have children present. So the suggestion is that we “engage them” – and then we do a grown-up talk for the grown-ups. That is what teachers do.
But I am no teacher.
I remember being invited to take part in a Sunday School via skype – me in England and the Sunday School in USA. I remember there was a child sitting next to the Sunday School leader – who had turned the skype camera/laptop on himself (so I was less of a distraction to the group). And this child was quite happy. Quite happy to listen. Quite happy to watch. Quite happy NOT to be talked down to (sorry – “engaged”) as a child.
I have also watched many wonderful “children’s films” that work for all ages – no need for “one for children and another for adults”. And I have a resentment in being encouraged to become a trained performer – able to work an audience – able to entertain an audience – able to use “tools” to engage and “connect”. I always had – and still have – an alternative view: that all I need to do is get out of His way – and let Him do the “performing and engaging” through me. Because His “tools” are far and away (FAR AND AWAY!) in excess of mine. He so easily has one-to-one conversations – in the same place – at the same time – with any and all who allow (and all at the same time as I am at the front – allowing Him through me)! Isn’t that just so … cool!
But the best discovery of all in this training?
The fellowship of “prepping”!!!! THAT is where it is at baby!
This afternoon my mentor and I will let God run amok – no “teacher and pupil” – and what He gifts BOTH of us will be far in excess of what He ever could for either of us if we prepped individually. And that means another certainty tomorrow: no matter who does what tomorrow – we will each have God running amok – which means He will be at the front (looking like the two of us). And that is really … cool.
And as for the “two audiences” issue I have been asked to think about … ? I already know.
There will be just one “audience” tomorrow. It has to be that way. Because neither my mentor or I can “chat” to everyone (or even 2 x everyone) in every sacred creation’s personal language. Because if we were to even try … ?
We would just get in everyone’s way.