The Pastor's Peace - August, 2014
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It is the day after I went to a Jimmy Buffett concert in Cincinnati. Many of you know that I am a fan, and this is now my third time to see Mr. Buffett live. It was also the first time I took Amelia, my wife. Perhaps it was that I was concerned for her having a good time, or maybe it was just happenstance, but last night’s event was my least favorite so far. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the music and Jimmy put on a great show, but less enjoyable this time were some of the other fans. Parrotheads, fans of Jimmy Buffett, certainly know how to be a lively bunch, with a great deal of costumes and tailgating events on display. However, one can go in a hurry from having a good time to being obnoxious, and the event had a few more very loud and very annoying folks in close proximity to me than I would have preferred.

As I stop to reflect about this, I consider what my expectations prior to the event were, and also by what right did I have an environment of my choosing? As the world and technology continues on, we as individuals have been offered ever-increasing opportunities to have the world “our way.” From 800 channels on the TV, to online advertising fine-tuned for our every need and desire, we are continually fed an illusion that our needs and views are what should be the priority of the world around us. Although I was in a quieter mood last night, how silly was it of me to expect that of everyone around me. Since I went to an event where people started tailgating at
9:00 in the morning, I should have been grateful that the vast majority of folks were great to be around. If I am tempted to expect a concert to be how “I” want it, then what else am I expecting to be suited just for me? Do we sometimes expect Jesus and the church to fit only our needs?

The Bible has 4 gospels, each one providing a slightly different take on Christ. In the early church these versions represented different communities that saw Jesus in different ways. There were also many types of Christian communities back then, just as there are now. Just like now, people argued about what were proper ways to worship Christ. Paul spent much of his time dealing with arguments between people in early churches.

Today, we too can get a bit caught up in thinking we know what is best. When it comes to God, however, just like it was unrealistic of me to think that 20,000 concertgoers would agree with my view of a concert, how much more unrealistic is it for us to think a faith of 1 billion should agree on the same vision of Christ. Perhaps this is why we have so many types of churches, and perhaps this is a good thing. What is more important is the idea that we can still come together despite our differences, and enjoy the worship of our God. Next year when I go to the concert, I will bring a few more costume items, try to know a few more songs by heart, but leave a few of my expectations behind. I think that just might give me the experience I was looking for but did not find.

Peace and Blessings,

Pastor Brian