If you’ve ever watched the “Muppet Show,” you might remember Statler and Waldorf. They were the two old men who sat up in the balcony and whose entire job it was to sit in the back and heckle the show. That was all they did. They were life-long spectators.
Which is fine...if you’re a Muppet.
But there’s also a Statler and Waldorf way to do faith.
Sometimes it’s easy to show up on Sunday morning and stick to the balcony, to stay on the sidelines and sneak out the back door, to draw on Jesus when we need some help or a biblical promise but shy away from him when he invites us to be part of the show.
But the trouble with the Statler and Waldorf way to do church is that at the end of the day, being a spectator doesn’t change you. In the long run, merely attending church doesn’t change you. And ultimately, weekly church attendance won’t change anything about the world around you either, not by itself.
It might be a little like going to the gym to watch other people work out and then expecting your body to change too. The truth is...it won’t.
The change happens when we join in.
When we’re doing faith the Statler and Waldorf way, it can be tempting to want to do this Jesus thing when it works for us, when we have time, when life settles down, when we have all the answers down pat.
But right from the get-go, from the moment they decide to follow, faith for the disciples means joining in Christ's mission. It means jumping in with both feet and going where he goes and doing what he does.
At this point in the story, Jesus has started gathering his team, his disciples. Being a Rabbi was the most esteemed profession in that society, and so Rabbis had their pick of disciples. Typically, they would head for the best Bible Schools and seminaries, pick out the creamiest of the cream of the crop, precocious young prodigies who could carry their message and make them look good.
But Jesus heads to the docks. He approaches fishermen, young men who probably hadn’t passed the right Bible tests, who were making ends meet by long days and nights of honest labor. And he invites them to follow.
Part of what I love about this picture is that Jesus goes into the world of the fishermen, he takes what they do, and annexes it for his purposes. Often, our vocations require us to learn new skills, but sometimes, Jesus just takes what we can already do, or that thing that already brings us life, and invites us to use it for his Kingdom.
Our dream is that every member at Highrock would be a minister, that we would all play a part in planting this church together. This means we worship together, we play together, we dream together, but we also sweat together. And sometimes it’s hard work and sometimes it’s inconvenient, but whether you’re passing out bulletins or teaching our children or creating artwork for the sanctuary, you are doing the Lord’s work when you harness your gifts for God’s purposes.
Sometimes, joining in just means a shift of how we view what we do every day. If you are a teacher, you are doing children’s ministry every day. If you are a healthcare professional, you are bringing Christ’s healing every day. If you're a parent, you're demonstrating God's love with every faithful action your kids see you do. If you are an artist, you are displaying God’s creativity with every brushstroke.
Tonight, we'll have the opportunity to see this embodied as many types of gifts coalesce into ArtSpeak, our concert and art show to fight human trafficking. Tony Wallace is using his gifts as a sound guru to make our concert sound amazing. Kim LaCroix is using her gifts as a theater artist to coordinate the show. Emily Swilling is using her administrative gifts to form our volunteers into a team of hosts and art runners and ushers. An incredible group of men and women came together last night to set up chairs and arrange artwork at Salem Old Town Hall. Visual artists from within and beyond the Highrock community like Kerrie James, George and Amy Courage, Kirsten Borne, Solomon Kong, culinary artists like Mary Grace Hager, musical artists like Brian James and Sam Cook-Stuntz and Jenna Lanoue, poets like Jennifer Jean and the residents of Amirah, are harnessing their gifts and passions to tell the story of how Christ is at work through Amirah to restore lives and free captives and how we can be a part of it. They are doing what they have been gifted to do, and they're doing it for God's Kingdom.
It is the body of Christ alive and at large in our own community. These are fishermen turned disciples, fishing for God's purposes.
And you can fish too.
So if you’ve been sitting in the balcony with Statler and Waldorf, we invite you - Jesus invites you - to step off, step out, and go fish.
Pastor Brynn Harrington
What is God calling you to fish for these days? Where have you been tempted to sit on the shore rather than put out to sea? Frederick Buechner once said that the "place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Where is that place for you?
Gracious God, the one who gives life meaning and purpose. Give me your eyes today. Help me to see where the world is broken. Where it is hurting. Where it is lost. Where it needs to know you and where it needs to feel your presence. Give me the power of your Spirit to embody your kingdom as your ambassador wherever my feet take me. Amen
Today eat some fish. Sushi, fish nuggets, fish and chips. Eat fish and remember that you are called to join Jesus in fishing for people. And then join us tonight as we gather for ArtSpeak:Awaken, 6pm at Salem Old Town Hall.