I work in a small town, if work is what pastors do. It’s Saturday morning, 10:30. I’m sitting at my desk, feet up, typing. This.
My window looks out on the main street into town. Most days I see cars, Amish buggies, trucks, and the occasional fire engine. At this moment, I’m watching the Leo High School marching band. It’s the Grabill Country Fair Parade.
I’m supposed to be working on a sermon for tomorrow morning. I don’t preach very often here, which is probably good for everyone. I’m pretty unstructured, pretty story focused. It’s helpful and thought-provoking…in small doses.
I’m trying to understand for tomorrow what it means to be a disciple. An everyday disciple.
The cashiers from the grocery store are walking by. Tiffany is one of the managers. She attends here. She’s a disciple. She’s working hard to take what she knows about Jesus and live it in a life that has been challenging.
I wonder whether I should be out there, talking with people, listening to people. Isn’t that what Jesus would be doing? Instead of sitting in here, I mean?
I mean, we’d make him the Grand Marshall, instead of the Turner Cup champion Fort Wayne Komets. Minor league hockey is cool, but a guy who walks on water? Maybe he’d take the parade across the reservoir. Of course, the last parade he was in ended very badly.
Instead, right now, there’s a big gap in the parade. Something must be coming, but I can’t see it.
Or maybe Jesus wouldn’t be the Grand Marshall. Maybe he would have been walking along the route campaigning. “Jesus for Senate,” the buttons would say. There would be flyers and promises…and cynicism.
He probably wouldn’t be driving the old tractor pulling an even older harvesting machine. Unless he were talking about sowing and reaping.
It’s possible that he’d be riding as an honorary citizen. The ones that just went by? He’s been the bank president for a long time and just retired. He’s been pretty committed to being low key. When I think of him, I don’t think of bank assets. I think of a guy who wants to spend more time teaching and understanding the next step of following Jesus.
Jesus might have been walking along the parade route just talking with people. Paul, for example, has known Jesus for a long time. They are personal friends. But last week Paul found out that the spot on his pancreas is cancer. Patrick Swayze got a standing ovation last night on TV and is making progress with his cancer. Paul probably won’t be on TV, probably won’t get the ovation, probably won’t get much treatment…he’s been through so much that there aren’t many options. I’m guessing that Jesus would spend a little time with Paul. Would He touch him? Would that touch be full of the healing that chemo can only dream of? Or would it be the touch of a friend that says, “no matter what, I’m here.”
People are wandering away. I think the parade may be almost done. I need to go unlock the gym so that people can come and look at the pumpkins and the photographs and the huge sunflower and the quilts. I’m hoping that the smell of the overripe cantaloupe is gone by morning when I’m preaching.
Ah wait. There are the little gymnasts, the ones who are about three feet tall, with mothers and dads who think they are incredibly cute, who are trying to figure out how to keep up. They are about as far from Beijing as I am…but they have an audience. They are loved. They get to wave. And Jesus said that they mattered, that to understand the Kingdom of heaven, we had to look at, become like, those little scouts and twirlers and tumblers who have no clue what a straight line is, who don’t know how to march in a parade. How could they be the standard. They can’t do anything for themselves.
And the float from the Cedars. Most of us would call the people on that float “the old people. ” They live in a retirement center. They’ve done what they are supposed to do in life already. That’s why we keep them there. Except, there’s something about the eyes of the driver. They look familiar.
There is the float that says “Need Help? Burn TV. Read the Bible.” It’s covered with verses about sin. I look at it and think, “That can’t be where Jesus is sitting.” But that’s a pretty critical thing for me to decide. Especially since He said some of those things.
I unlocked the door, but the parade is still going. We don’t have public restrooms, I understand from the past, but I decided to not worry about the restriction. “What happened. Oh. The church wouldn’t let you? Oh.”
I’ve got to get busy on that sermon. About following Jesus. About listening to Him and talking with Him and learning how to live my life as if He were.
I wonder where to start.