“I used to be one of your troublesome ones – but it got to the point where I couldn’t take sitting in that place every night anymore.”
The Bar n Bus can be a lovely place. The years go by. God never gets mentioned. Not unless the youngsters ask. They all know it is a church backed, Christian based group. They ask that much. And reassured that the refreshments are really free, that we are all volunteers and don’t get a penny – that is enough. We just “are”.
“It’s been at least two years since I was on the bus. I was passing and wanted to say hello. I’m working now – a good job – love it. Work 12 hour days sometimes – but I don’t mind – it’s a buzz!”
Last night we had four young people take a drink. Four youngsters. Over two hours. Hearing stuff parents don’t.
“I don’t do drugs anymore either. Sitting in that place we all did – they still do. But I grew out of it. Don’t get me wrong – they are still everywhere – but not for me – not any longer. I moved on.”
The Bar n Bus is a lovely place. A time machine.
And this morning I got to thinking about how we try to change each other. We try and make those who don’t know “know” before they want to know. We want to keep people on
our the straight and narrow. And just like I did do, I listen politely, and carry-on doing what I want. It’s like seeds that grow – you can’t talk a seed into being something it’s not. And the same with you and me. We take what we want and discard the rest.
And guess what today’s verses are… ?
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23
I know I was taught to read the bible wrong.
I have pondered these verses loads of times. And was taught always to see one version – snapshot – a picture – a still: Good soil-bad soil … Good roots-bad roots … Gobbled up-grow strong … I am a Christian-I am a sinner … I am good-I am bad …
“But I grew out of it.”
I was taught to see you, good Christian, who goes to church, dresses up once a week, who smiles to my face, bad-mouths behind my back. To accept your committees and minutes, your never ending hand-wringing “but we are few and … the bills are many”.
I am disenchanted with your “static” – your “still” – your contentment with a static comfort zone. I see luke-warm.
I see my teaching.
And yet … I only see one frame – your one “still”. Because if WE are lucky we see a few frames – an album of stills over time. But WE can never experience each others’ movie, nor experience the different soundtracks, the changing focus and framing we each choose, the different characters we encounter, the plot changes, the unplanned “story-lines” …
If we are friends we each create a photograph album of each others’ stills that we call “friendship” (or discipling).
Like I was taught that I was a seed – a seed sowed by The Sower. Like I was taught to become who the teachers of The Sower expected me to be. Which means he has spent the subsequent years teaching me this …
Showing me that every moment is one piece of a big jigsaw. Pieces I have the time to find their fit – moving and re-moving them as other pieces allow. OR that I can bash-in each piece to make it fit someone else’s jigsaw. Which never really works.
I like his teaching.