I was with a certain esteemed clergyman of our fair city the other day. I didn’t know him too well but the time was supposed to be a sort of getting to know you session. We decided to go out for a coffee. I met this ArchBishop (not his real rank but I’m trying to protect the guilty here) at his rather large church and we walked to a rather famous coffee place that is not far from where he is based.
As we approached said coffee house (which has sliding doors) we both, simultaneously and (this next phrase is for emphasis) at the same time, raised our hands and did the Jedi door opening move. We looked at each other and then collapsed in fits of laughter. What people must have thought of two grown men, both in suits and clerical collars, rolling around crying tears of laughter, I neither know nor care. It was one of those priceless moments. As you can imagine the conversation was Star Wars based after that. Things like – “Jesus said to them, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”” and “These clergymen are not the ones you’re looking for.” etc etc You can imagine the rest. It was a fun hour, one of the best meetings I have had in a long while.
I don’t remember when automatic sliding doors became widespread but for as long as they have been around I have been opening them like a Jedi. They let me express my inner child, who is about 8 and still loves Star Wars and bubble gum (although mum doesn’t let me have it very often).
I don’t know about you but for me it’s the simple things in life that make me happiest – sliding doors that open on my command; texts from friends; a decent hot chocolate; a meal with nice people; a good book; 10 minutes of peace and quiet while people watching. The list goes on and each thing on there is a ‘simple pleasure.’ I get child like delight from a wrapped present; I love the feel of clean socks; those times when the shower temperature is just right; lying in bed listening to a storm; the wags of the dogs as I get home; smiles on friends’ faces; perfect toast.
Dickens reminds us, “That it is good to be a child sometimes” and I think he’s right and never more so than when we are in church. We must never forget that Jesus tells us that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Now I’m not saying that we should all be doing colouring in and dot to dots on a Sunday morning, but I am saying that I think God wants us to see faith as a simple thing.
Christianity is not a set of rules to be followed, not a series of tick boxes to be filled in every day.
Prayers said – tick
Been nice to a few people – tick
Mentioned Jesus to a couple of friends (who already go to church) – tick
Was bigoted enough about the place of (insert whatever group you wish to hate today here) – tick
That is NOT what following Jesus is about.
The heart of the gospel is like the heart of child – filled with love and wonder.
Keep that in mind and we won’t go too far wrong. Acceptance, forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, patience, love. Things children (and Jedi) have in abundance (most of the time) – but this is gospel message. Not fear, not anger, not hatred – to relapse into Star Wars mode for a moment; “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
If you must have things in adult terms then look at this – “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbour as yourself.” You could spend the rest of your life working out what that sentence really means.
Be filled with love and wonder, open doors like a Jedi, let your inner child out and while you’re at it spread that love a bit more too. It’s a simple thing that can change the world!