I was recently taking a church weekend in Sussex. A series of teaching sessions about what it is to be a disciple and be the church in today’s culture. It was a fruitful weekend with lots of positive engagement and feedback. (Plug: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to explore opportunities…end of plug).
On the final morning service I took the opportunity to illustrate the main point of each of the previous 4 sessions, with an example/story/activity.
My last point picked up Luke 12, where Jesus warned his disciples to ‘beware the yeast of the Pharisees’. There were lots of important lessons to learn from that passage, one of which, I felt, is the idea that Jesus warns his disciples not to ‘be like the Pharisees’. My guess is that this was far from their minds but I wondered whether Jesus could see that there is within each follower a weakness that means we could in time, become just like a Pharisee. Maybe because of fear of what we have being lost, maybe fear of persecution, maybe the enjoyment of all the trappings that we have…I pondered on this, and continue to do so.
To illustrate the continuing need to have courage and embrace what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, rather than settle back and risk becoming comfortable, I asked a young guy to come forward and play the faith game. You know, the one where you fall back into the arms of a waiting person ‘trusting’ that they will catch you. That game.
However to up the tension I asked this guy to stand on a chair, which adds to the danger. I asked him to pick 4 f’riends’ whom he trusted to catch him.
After explaining what was going to happen, when he was ready, this young man fell off this chair and was caught by his mates. It went well. Point made. People were reminded that faith is a mixture of trust and courage.
You might know, or firmly believe, but to let yourself go is a step of courage, especially when you can see the very real dangers.
What left an impression on me more than anything else was that a few minutes after the service, the young man I’d asked to stand on the chair told me that he was absolutely petrified of heights. I know its only a chair height, but the thought of falling off a chair filled him with real deep sense of fear.
He not only showed faith/trust in his friends. But he showed some courage too.
Comfort or courage? You choose.