SCHOOL BUS LITURGY

This morning I put my youngest daughter on the school bus.  She is in seventh grade now, and I know that I should probably stop standing at the bus stop with her, but it is something I’ve done for my children for over 12 years and it is a little hard to let go of.  I am a little over-protective.

A LOT CAN BE LEARNED AT THE BUS STOP

This morning as she got on the bus, I spouted out the usual words–the words I’ve told my daughters almost every day they’ve caught the bus for all these years.  It has formed a kind of liturgy that both of them can quote, probably in their sleep (which I hope they are not doing in class?)  Our school bus liturgy is:

1.  Keep your hands and feet to yourself.

2.  Play well with others.

3.  Mind your teacher(s)

4.  Learn something

5.  Remember, if you want to have friends you have to be a friend.

That’s it!  that is our school bus liturgy.  I think though, now, as I’ve gotten older I say it more for myself than for them.  Each of these five points still speak to our everyday behavior.

1.  Keep your hands and feet to yourself–If I avoid harming others, and simultaneously mind my own business then much of the evil of this world will stay away.  By evil I mean violence, gossip, slander, and all manner of salaciousness.

2.  Play well with others–Respect and courtesy are not just for the playground, but for meetings, conversations, Facebooking, the grocery store, and pretty much anytime I”m around others.  Our world is very lacking in respect.

3.  Mind your teacher(s)–Everyone has someone they have to obey.  I believe all people should obey the Lord (Jesus is the ultimate Teacher) but it goes further than that.  For example, as a pastor, I have to obey the leadership of the church and submit to them, even when I think they are wrong.  People in the workplace, whatever that workplace is, usually have some authority or supervisor they must obey.  Obedience and submission,  I believe, are spiritual disciplines even if that authority is secular in nature.

4.  Learn something–The day I stop learning is the day I have decided to forfeit one of the greatest joys of living:  Discovery.  Only a fool would choose to forfeit discovery and growth.

5.  Remember, if you want to have friends you have to be a friend–Someone has to make the first move.  Why not let it be you?  And once you get that friendship going, if you want to keep it, you’d better continue to be nice.  Too many people take their friendships for granted.

VISIONQUEST

I just got home about an hour ago from church.  We had a great fellowship activity as we popped popcorn and watched Dolphin Tale on the big screen in the sanctuary.  We had a pretty good turnout and had a great time.  For the last hour, though, I’ve been studying my notes for my pastorcluster tomorrow.  They give us a quiz each time, and I want to do well.

Some of the material is about vision.

The brief outline is based on Habakkuk 2:1-3.  Never mind the fact that the material is kind of taken out of context; it is still true.  There are three important things I need to remember for the test.

  1. Vision is discovered, it is not created.
  2. Vision is God’s answer to a problem.
  3. Vision ignites urgent action.

I think all of these are true.  Let me work backward.  Urgent action is relative.  I do not think every aspect of vision is about selling the farm to make something happen right now.  However, that urgent feeling is needed to create the emotive matrix for things to get done.  Without it inertia begins to work against you.  I also believe that vision is God’s answer to the problem.  Specifically, in the context of leadership it is apparent to me that as I wrestle with problems in helping people be spiritually mature or helping our church make a greater impact in South Kitsap and the world, I believe what God leads me to do, teach, and lead is a part of the solution.  If  I didn’t  believe that, I would quit.

But the aspect of this teaching that I am meditating upon tonight is the first one–that vision is discovered and not created.  What I’m pondering is that vision discovery is a good balance for the urgent action part of it.  It sometimes takes a long time to discover the vision God has.  Not all of us receive it quickly or immediately; and this is true of our context.  It seems to me that the vision Jesus has for me in my context (i.e. church) is different from someone else in some other context or church.  Another leader might be able to discover the vision quicker than me because it is more apparent.

Okay, I realize as I read the above paragraph that I am getting wordy and vague.  What I mean to say is that I think I AM JUST NOW DISCOVERING THE VISION THAT JESUS HAS HAD ALL ALONG FOR MY CONTEXT IN OUR CHURCH.

More to the point, I do not know if that  vision can be easily written or explained.  The longer I lead and pastor the more I can feel it in my bones–the more I intuit the direction we are headed and what we should be like.  This is why I think so much of what passes for vision in many church settings is premature wordiness.  Usually vision is nothing more than nice sounding cliches or sample group marketed ideas or images which people feel good about.  But haven’t we learned by now that vision statements and mission statements do not really matter that much and really do not bring about change?  As believers do we not live more by the vague vision qualities of love, sacrifice, beauty, and wisdom?

So those are my thoughts.  With my luck, though, the teacher will not even ask those questions on the quiz.