Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Look what they've done to my song.."

I have been on the phone since coming into my office and have just stopped for a coffee. My week so far has been busy, a bit edgy and yet reflective. "Edgy" because the Night Shelter Trust of which I am chairman has had to make important decisions and being chairman means I have to help facilitate this diverse group of people through this process. "Edgy" also because in New Zealand every six months you need to get a garage to check your car and give it a "Warrant of Fitness". They check tyres, body work, wheels, brakes, steering, lights and general safety features. My car had to go in yesterday for this and, as well as being car less for the day, I am always on edge until the results come through. One little light bulb was all I needed. "Reflective" because we have had an elders' meeting, I have had various conversations and other interactions that have had me thinking about my future in the Church as I head toward retirement age. I learned also that I could conceivably retire sometime after July this year if I wanted to. I am also doing this series on "If the Church were Christian" and as I travel through it have become increasingly aware of how distorted I see the Church when compared to the way of Jesus as I perceive him. I am grappling with that and wondering where I fit in to "orthodoxy" and the normal expectations of ministry.  Beside that I sat in our Space2B yesterday just chatting to people. We had a lot of fun with laughter and a whole variety of topics covered as people came and went. We have a wide range of people visiting and it is sometimes hard to keep in touch with all of them and be totally inclusive. As I sat there I thought, "This is really a wholesome thing happening! It has so much potential!" Then I thought that most of my Church people would not know what was happening nor perceive the love, the wholesome dynamics and affirmation that is part of it. It really is not a part of traditional understandings of "Church". It is more like a "pub with no beer." One example of the interactions is I had not bought my lunch but one lady had made an extra box of sandwiches I was given. Another guy we have been developing a relationship with, who is often on the wrong side of the law, dug in his bag and with real warmth gave me a pie he had bought at the supermarket. (At least I hope he bought it?)

Stewing on this weekend's topic and looking at music for the service I came across this old 1970 song that I often think of when I compare Jesus' way to the ways and priorities of Churches. Sometimes I think that Jesus could sing along with it with passion.  "Look what they done to my song, ma!"  I often wonder what Jesus would say about the Church that carries his name? Is it really reflective of his way? Last night I was so "buzzing" with thoughts, sermon and plans going through my head that I did not get to sleep until after 1 a.m.  Sometimes I want to escape the lot, at other times I am excited about the possibilities. Sometimes I want to scream "Stop the bus! I want off!" at other times I want to yell with delight, "Wow! what a ride!"  The change can happen in the space of a few minutes too! Gotta go... coffee finished. That's me at this moment.

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