Saturday, February 24, 2007

Foreign Bodies

Just wanted to put a brief description of a weird "vibe" I got this weekend during a youth retreat.

We were at church late at night, and playing a game with one of those giant "earth balls" that are like 5 feet wide. During a break a few of us were in the trailer out back waiting for the others to re-air the ball (it was an old ball and there was a hole).

I had wandered back into the room where the youth girls have class and was looking at a podium sitting on the table. It was covered in signatures, dates, sayings, from lots of people over the past five years or so.

I suddenly realized I was by myself and it was completely quiet except for the buzzing of the light behind me. I had my hand on the podium trying to see which names I could recognize and suddenly I got this vibe that I'll have to tell another story about to make an accurate analogy:

Years ago when I was a little guy I used to go to a weeklong summer camp with people from a previous church. We weren't really roughing it because we stayed in these wooden cabins. When we first showed up, the cabin was just a cabin, and completely empty. But after even half a day the place was hopping with activity and every rafter and stray nail had a purpose.

And I remember one time the week was over and I was the last one in the cabin gathering my stuff. The bus was ready to go and that antsyness of "I got somewhere to BE" was present. But I took a look at the cabin and saw it was just as empty as it was when we all showed up. It was like the walls had absorbed some of the energy that we left there through laughter and tears through growing spiritually, and in a way we had left our mark on that place. But still, the most overwhelming thought in my mind was: This is not where you belong anymore, and you have someplace to be. Home.

That's the analogy that went zipping through my head when I had my finger on the podium. What looked like dozens of people had stood right where I was and signed their name, or left a funny saying, or a date. Each marker-stroke represented one snippet in time where a person or group of people felt like leaving their mark for someone else to see and possibly leave THEIR mark too.

The connection was made that, as Christians, we are not where we belong. We are away from Home while we're here, and we are leaving marks for other people to notice. The question is, are we leaving the right kind of marks? Are we leaving the kind of good marks that would prompt other Christians to leave many MORE of the same kind of marks?

One day, we're going to be on our way Home and the bus engine is going to be idling. All of our affairs will be packed up and we'll take a last look at this temporary home where we've been staying for this short time. The small link we have here, that idea that this is home, will be like a small thread connecting us here, while a giant cable connects us to our true Home, and as soon as we turn around to head that direction, the thread will snap, and we'll have only one direction to go.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good read, great imagery, well written. jmf