Crockpots, Ovens, and Fish Tacos

“Which kitchen appliance would you become and why?”

4323263877_b4b6e17a53_o1-940x625Last week new adult volunteers were introduced to the youth with silly questions. My answer to the appliance question was microwave, because it is great at making popcorn and the turntable is a built in amusement park ride. But when I got on a playground spinner with Phoebe this past week… well, it felt like the picture. Stumbling off I realized I am getting older and maybe more of a crock pot than a microwave. Slowing down.

“If you could be any age forever, what age would you choose?”

The popular answers avoided work – preschool age or retirement. But one answer was thirty: Your family is started with little ones. Your career has reached a good place. Yet your body has not begun to breakdown. I looked over and asked, “How old are you?” He wouldn’t answer, but I am pretty sure he is younger than my wise 36. So all week I have been judging my age. Beyond work – cleaning the car, driveway repair, late night, early morning – I AM tired. I had been blaming it on “a new baby that makes four kiddos” tired, not “old age decrepit” tired. Slowing down.

“Would you rather have an elephant trunk of a giraffe’s neck?”

This question started our interrogation. I chose a giraffe’s neck. I have always wanted to be a little bit taller. The neck might be awkward, but I would love to see what is coming in a crowd. Now my view is always blocked by whatever/whoever is in front of me.

The view of tomorrow is like being in a crowd, it is easy to focus on the immediate and miss the big picture. It is simpler to be content, rather than push through the crowd to improve. Especially as I get older and busier, I relax and accept this life as normal. Slowing down.

Still, the thought that life peaked at 30 made we ponder “where am I?”  I am thrilled with my family. I am not really worried about my age and body breakdown (though at times feel it and should exercise). Still, this week I have questioned if my career has arrived. At 30 I became a pastor, achieving a stage in my calling.  But my desire has never been for a position, instead I desire a community.  Even without a giraffe’s neck, I can see I don’t have forever to find this fellowship.

“A penguin arrives at the door wearing a sombrero. Why is he here?”

This was our last question. I pondered the penguin speaking Spanish. I suppose in search of fish tacos. But “why is he here?” isn’t the question on my mind. Instead, “how will we embrace sombrero wearing penguins?” What really speeds my heart is the thought that whoever walks through our doors – be it penguins in sombreros, or broken families, or recovering alcoholics, or… – they will be embraced and loved. They will be challenged and supported.

In our minds we want our church to be this type of community. But we generally wait for the visitor to make the first move. Our slowing down becomes a standstill, as we wonder “why are they here?” When we should be racing to embrace them!

Today isn’t a time to be a crockpot. Slowly letting life happen. Waiting for someone else. Today is the time to seize the moment. It is time to speed things up – not to microwave speed, you know what happens when I start spinning! – it is time to start the oven baking. So when our neighbors arrive, we  actively reach out. In this fellowship, before he asks, the penguin will be served fish tacos.

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