Skip to main content

you've got a friend in me

i have had toy story on the brain for some time now: i mentioned its release in 3-d in my easter sunday sermon "living in 3-d" (james and i saw it together last friday-- it's awesome!) and the following article appeared in the september edition of our church newsletter:

Recently I noticed James' old Buzz Lightyear costume hanging in the laundry room. When James was smaller, the Buzz costume could have counted as his skin. He was in that thing all the time (by the way, you know who Buzz Lightyear is, right? You've seen Toy Story, right??). He would wear the costume inside the house. And outside. In August. It would be stuck to his body. Everywhere James was to be found, it was a good bet he was in that costume. The costume has been waiting a couple of years for Miles to grow into it. I can imagine it longing to be worn again, running through the house fighting evil. Today Miles slipped it on, and it fit. He was so excited. This was the legendary Buzz Lightyear costume. He ran around the house for about five minutes, decided it was too scratchy, and took it off. It's now resting on the floor.

Our church is undergoing significant changes right now. Some of those changes are tangible, like new paint, a new worship experience, a new staff member (have you come by the office to welcome Kimberly Acker as our new Office Manager yet?). Sunday mornings are very different now-not only the Crossover service, but when and where children go for Sunday School; how we pray in worship; when and where youth and adult classes are-and who leads them. Some of us react to change with a sense of excitement, wondering what will happen; others react with suspicion: "If it's not broken, why fix it?" The changes we are implementing are all for one purpose: to help our church maintain and expand its ability to reach more and more people for Jesus Christ.

A great thing about being part of a community is that we are all different. Some grew up in church; others have only started attending. Some favor "traditional" worship; others "contemporary." Some believe the church exists for its members; for others it is for those beyond our walls. Some of us get excited about something, while the rest of us think it's no big deal. We all have different experiences and needs. There's no way the church can fulfill everyone's desires exactly as we want-it's just impossible. When we get frustrated, it can be easy to forget that we are part of the same team. Let's stop for a moment and think: "Will this thing I am being asked to do (accept a new teacher, move to a different room, etc.) help the church further its mission? What are these feelings I am experiencing really about?"

I have not heard much frustration voiced over recent weeks, but I imagine it's there. And I understand it. I've had to make compromises in my own routine and choices recently, not necessarily what I would have wanted-having Disciple Bible study meet in our home, for example. But what were the alternatives? Reduce the number of participants from eighteen to six so we could squeeze into my office at church? Find another night away from home and family? Cancel or move another group so my group could have space? On the other hand: What benefits are there for the church to have such a huge Bible study class? How might the church improve and expand its mission when more and more people are growing in their faith and becoming leaders for Christ?

I hope Miles gives the Buzz costume another chance. There is much adventure in that rolled-up pile of polyester and laminated polyurethane. And when we get frustrated as we see changes around us, or we just know we'll be the next one asked to give up/compromise/risk/step out in faith/change, remember: what adventures are possible when we say 'yes'-not just for us but for the whole team?

as james and i sat in the cinema, a huge tub of popcorn on his lap, both of us laughing, there were a few tears from me (thanks to the 3-d glasses he couldn't tell). i kept remembering him as a toddler, running through the house with the above-mentioned costume on, or the wonderful home-made woody costume christy made him-- he wore that foam cowboy hat forever! i kept thinking: he's not two or three anymore. he's a 2nd grader now. i didn't long for the past, and i didn't regret the passing of time. i was thankful to have this awesome kid-- and two others! everyone keeps telling me "they grow so fast!" and i suppose they do, but it doesn't seem like yesterday that he was the only kid in the parsonage.

buzz and woody basically have this conversation at the end of toy story 2, promising to enjoy the days with andy as long as they can, knowing when their relationship with him changes they'll always have each other (and it happens: we saw a trailer for toy story 3: andy goes to college and the toys go elsewhere, looks like a daycare facility-- we'll find out in june!). james isn't the toddler anymore, and he won't be the 2nd grader he is today for much longer either. he'll grow up and change-- we all do-- and living in the past was never healthy for anyone. thinking about this, woody says, "i wouldn't miss it for the world." ditto. i am 100% sure the kid in the cowboy hat will always be in there somewhere-- just as the kid with the towel tied around his neck running through the house as superman is still inside of me! to infinity and beyond!


Popular posts from this blog

Reflecting Upon Newtown

Note: I offered these words during the prayer section of worship Sunday, December 16.

Last Friday was a day full of surprising ministry. After I wrote my usual Friday email devotion to the church, I received a call from Byron Proutt, our missions coordinator. He and others had recently partnered with Park Cities Presbyterian on a project, and their missions director called Byron to say another ministry was unable to pick up several boxes of food for their pantry—could we use it? Of course we could! So Pastor Gregg, Mr Johnny, and I rolled out to the warehouse and hauled back 80 boxes of food. Praise God! After we unloaded it Gregg and I went to Kroger to give them a letter of appreciation for making our Thanksgiving baskets for hungry families a priority. After I dropped Gregg off at home, I turned on my radio for the first time that day and heard the reports of the shootings in Newtown, Conn. I could not believe what I heard, especially as a father of young children.

I came back to m…

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…