Monday, April 25, 2011

Met Me Where I Was At...

I heard this poem yesterday at the Easter Sunday service I attended and got to help with "releasing" balloons into the crowd during the final benediction. I have been thinking about this poem all day long and think it'll probably have a permanent fixture in my mind. Loved it!

Balloons Belong in Church

I took to church one morning a happy four-year-old child
Holding a bright blue string to which was attached a much
loved orange balloon with pink stripes. . .
Certainly a thing of beauty.
And if not forever at least a joy for a very important now.
When later the child met me at the door,
Clutching blue string, orange and pink bobbing behind her,
She didn't have to tell me something had gone wrong.

"What's the matter?"
She wouldn't tell me.
"I bet they loved your balloon."
Out it came then, mocking the teacher's voice,
"We don't bring balloons to church."
Then that little four-year-old, her lip a little trembly, asked,
"Why aren't balloons allowed in church? I thought God would like balloons."

I celebrate balloons, parades, and chocolate chip cookies,
I celebrate seashells and elephants and lions that roar.
I celebrate roasted marshmallows and chocolate cake and fresh fish.
I celebrate aromas: bread baking, mincemeat, lemons . . .
I celebrate seeing: bright colors, wheat in a field, tiny wild flowers . . .
I celebrate hearing: waves pounding, the rain's rhythm, soft voices . . .
I celebrate touching: toes in the sand, a kitten's fur, another person . . .
I celebrate the sun that shines slab dab in our faces . . .
I celebrate snow falling . . . the wondrous quiet of the snow falling . . .
I celebrate the crashing thunder and the brazen lightning . . .
I celebrate anger at injustice
I celebrate tears for the mistreated, the hurt, the lonely . . .

I celebrate the community that cares . . . the church . . .
I celebrate the church.
I celebrate the times when we in the church made it . . .
When we answered a cry
When we held to our warm and well-fed bodies a cold and lonely world
I celebrate the times when the Church is the church
When we are Christians
When we are living, loving, contributing.
I celebrate perfect love . . . the cross . . . the Christ
Loving in spite of . . .
Giving without reward
I celebrate life . . . that we may live more abundantly . . .

Where did we get the idea that balloons don't belong in the church?
Where did we get the idea that God loves gray and sh-h-h and drab and anything will do?
I think it's blasphemy not to appreciate the joy in God's world.
I think it's blasphemy not to bring joy into His church.
For God so loved the world
That He hung there
Loving the unlovable.
What beautiful gift cannot be offered unto the Lord?
Whether it's a balloon or a song or some joy
that sits within you waiting
to have the lid taken off?

The Scripture says there's a time to laugh and a time to weep.
It's not hard to see the reasons for crying in a world where hatred is so manifest.
So celebrate!
Bring your balloons and your butterflies, your bouquets of flowers . . .
Bring the torches and hold them high!
Dance your dances, paint your feelings, sing your songs, whistle, laugh.
Life is a celebration, an affirmation of God's love.
Life is distributing more balloons.
For God so loved the world . . .
Surely that's a cause for Joy.
Surely we should celebrate it!
Good news! That he should love us that much.
Where did we ever get the idea that balloons don't belong in the church?

Written by Ann Weems

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover

From the outside a person may look strong & like they have things altogether. They may have a smile on their face and be going about their day-to-day tasks like usual. They may greet those around them with love and kindness. They very well may try hard to shine for God in all they and everywhere they go.

But you can't judge a book by its cover. You can never know what's truly going on inside a person's heart and mind. You can never truly know the inward battles they are facing...the struggles they may very well have some days simply to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.

"You're NOT good enough!"..."You're REPLACEABLE!!"..."You're NOT strong enough!"..."You CAN'T do anything right!!"

These statements are just a few of many. They may not have very many words, but man they can pack a VERY POWERFUL punch on a person. Not necessarily words spoken to the person's face. Very well might be constant, inward pokes at the heart.

Yeah, words spoken directly to a person's face are hurtful & damaging. But I personally think the power of inward pokes directly at the heart damage far greater and deeper than anyone will every truly know.

At the end of the day, no matter what the circumstances or where a person find themselves, there's still endless potential. But the biggest roadblock & complication lies in finding the inner strength to continue moving forward, despite whatever opposition is being thrust at them...and that's a lot of times easier said than done!