From 1995 until 2002 I worked at BlueCross Blue Shield of Illinois.
First, I ran a machine that printed ID cards for their 6 million members. Then, in 1997 at the age of 21, I was put in charge of managing 15 or so machine operators who ran the machines.
Last week, Kristen sent me a news story about Chris Baker. He’s a tattoo artist in Oswego, Illinois who does free cover-up tats for folks leaving gang life or women who have been trafficked.
Talk about Good News in the Neighborhood? I’ve never been in a gang and I’ve never been trafficked, so I have no idea what it like to have a tattoo which tells the world, “I belong to ____.”
A couple weeks ago I confessed that worship times at church often leave me feeling lonely. My proposition was that this was, in part, to the lyrics of the songs themselves. (Along with a few other factors.)
I wonder what it’d be like to stand with my brothers and sisters in Jesus and lift our voices in worship proclaiming that I, me, mine are cheap compared to the power of we, us, ours?
Kristen and I are late-comers to the Downton Abbey craze. Other than the season 3 finale we’re all caught up. (Don’t spoil that last episode for us, we’ll probably watch it tonight.)
Speaking of spoilers this post won’t have any. Instead, this post will talk about things in general ways.
If I were going to preach about church life… I might use Downton Abbey as a metaphor because of its popularity and because of the parallels we can make between the life portrayed and how people in the church generally see the world around them.
Here’s the metaphor I’d use:
One of the many reasons I couldn’t be a worship leader… I don’t fit in skinny jeans.
I’m not a worship leader. My butt is too big for skinny jeans. My high school piano teacher told me to quit trying to learn. And no one would knowingly hand me a microphone to sing into.
That means that at least once per week I’m lead in worship. And that means that while the worship leaders are up there singing songs and talking and doing their thing, I’ve got lots and lots of time to think down here.
So accept this as a personal lament, not indictment. I’m sharing it while longing, praying, and seeking something I don’t even know exists.
1 John 3:16-18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
For some, Valentine’s Day is a day you sit a little closer or go out on a special date or send your kids to school with some red-topped cupcakes.
But for the brokenhearted it’s a reminder that you are brokenhearted. Today leaves you lonely, grasping for something you once had or always wanted.