For the Birds
One of the features of our recently constructed courtyard at First Methodist is a small fountain
It’s simple in design. Round, just a few feet tall, located in the southwestern corner near the labyrinth, the fountain has a small bowl —just a few inches deep— where the water gathers before it spills over the side.
The water adds a certain kind of “music” to the courtyard for those who stop by to rest on the benches, walk the labyrinth, or eat their lunch. On Sunday, after worship, families with children gather there and you’ll not only hear the sound of the water but the buzz of conversation accompanied by young people’s laughter.
Someday, I know, we will use the fountain and its water to baptize new disciples of Jesus Christ into the new birth that grace always brings. In the meantime, though, the water in the fountain seems to be a special gift to birds. Yesterday I looked out and watched a gathering of sparrows, standing on the concrete lip of the fountain, taking turns drinking from the water. Now and then one of the birds would step in a little deeper and use the water to bathe. They would stir up the water in a small spray, soaking themselves in the cool water in the middle of that very hot afternoon. (I think I saw the sparrows smiling…)
It struck me that the fountain is there to give itself away. Whatever creature finds its way to the water is welcome to drink…bath…just be. I’ve never seen the fountain turn a bird away because it was too small or too large, too bright or too dull, too old or too young.
Maybe the fountain has a thing to teach us about what it means to be fully alive in Christ
The Church exists to give itself away and to welcome all.
There is a wonderful story Jesus tells in Luke 14:15-24 about a dinner party as a picture of the Kingdom of God. Our staff looked at the story this week during our devotional time. A man hosts a large dinner and many are invited. The invitees have a conflict, something else to do, and they all decline the offer. Then, the host (God?) has the servants go out to the main roads and the side streets to bring “the poor, crippled, blind and lame” to the party.
When the host is told that his instructions have been followed but there is still more seating available, he says, “Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled.” God wants everyone to be brought to God’s party, and God wants God’s house to be full of life!
If we are a Christ-centered community, then we will take our cues from the fountain and welcome all
If we love Christ then we are called to love people—all kinds of people— enough to go out into Bloomington and onto campus bringing everyone in so that God’s house will be filled from wall to wall. (Curious…when is the last time you invited a friend or co-worker or neighbor to join you at First Methodist?)
What would it look like if we were a “for the birds” kind of church?
See you Sunday as we begin a new series of messages on the challenge of using time wisely. Invite a friend to join you for “Choosing to Cheat.”
Right now we are looking ahead and developing a preaching/teaching plan for the next 1-3 years. What topics or life questions would you suggest we deal with in our preaching ministry so that people could grow in the faith walk with Christ? What life challenges are people facing which we might address? Please send your suggestions this week or next to Ms. Cath Foreman at email@example.com.
Please keep your eyes (and heart!) open to welcome the new guests who will be in worship with us as the school year brings thousands of new friends to Bloomington. You will soon be invited to take an Open Door yard sign to place somewhere in your front yard so that students—and others— will know about this great place for fellowship, worship and service.
What one thing will you do this week to change the world by sharing God’s love?
Grace and peace,
Join us this Sunday, in a Jesus community where all are loved and welcomed, as we begin a new sermon series, “Choosing to Cheat: who wins when work and family collide?” Pastor Mark Fenstermacher will be looking at Ecclesiastes 3:1-12 and Luke 12:15-21 this first week when we consider the sermon title of, “Choosing to Cheat: Everybody Cheats”. Please, invite a friend to join you!