Tonight at the story, we discussed parables: what they are, why Jesus used them a lot, and why we don't use them at all. Then, we used this format to try and describe church in general and the story in particular. Here's what we cam up with:
church is like...
- ...a 7-11. It's open 24 hours to any who wish to shop there. All the basics you need to get by are provided. Even though some vary slightly in their customers and merchandise, there are very similar in their content. Sometimes, its patrons and employees will be stereotyped or targeted by violence. It has something for everyone, no matter your age or social location. It provides sustenance for the local community. It serves as a gathering place for youth.
- ...the embodiment of the grace and mystery of God's love through his creative people. It is a revolutionary force that seeks justice and freedom to become truly his disciples responding to the needs of others with hope and love. It is relational, the living bride of Christ that shows the world who God really is.
- ...a hospital seeking to find people who are wounded by the world around them. It should provide the medicine and skills to heal them and bring peace, fellowship, love, caring, and support.
the story is like...
- ...a walk in the sunshine. It is to be shared, and it connects us to a bigger and more meaningful life than one lived in isolation.
- ...a bus, sometimes full, sometimes half-full, picking up passengers exactly where they need to be picked up, but delivering them to perhaps unexpected destinations. Even though the destination may be somewhat surprising, everyone on the bus somehow knows the journey is, as the cliche says, almost as important as the destination.
- ...people who plant daffodils. To do so, you've got to plant bulbs deep into the ground with lots of hard work, water, fertilizer, and sunshine. You plant the bulbs in the fall in hopes that when spring comes, the ground will give way to yellow loveliness bursting through, offering peace and joy and love and hope to all who pass by.
- ...encountering an empty parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. For a time, we are free to cross over and transverse the lines that usually contain our vision and truncate our imagination. We are free to dance over boundaries that keep everything in its proper place and re-imagine the space with brilliant creativity.
- ...the yellow van in Little Miss Sunshine. We're all going somewhere, but for difference reasons. But the point is really the ride and how we relate to each other along the way.