It was astonishing and awe-inspiring to watch the boys and girls run and play and go from vehicle to vehicle during our Trunk-or-Treat last Sunday afternoon on our new church site. Gregory counted forty-two cars that arrived, each one decorated uniquely and creatively. We had lots of people from the surrounding neighborhoods who came, and Imagine Church made some new friends.
I told someone that if we only served adults, we could stay forever at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. But we have a vision of creating inviting, captivating spaces for our Imagine Kids and Imagine Nation Youth. Kids and young people are a big deal for Imagine Church -- and it's because they ARE a big deal when you read the gospels.
The disciple John tells a remarkable story (John, chapter 6) of when Jesus fed the multitude on a hillside one day. There is one person in the story whose vision and faith go unsung by John; as the disciples worry about how they are going to find food for all these people, one small solution steps forward. As an answer to the food question, a little child offers a new possibility: five barley loaves and two fish. With childlike trust, the boy offers all that he has to Jesus and the disciples.
Andrew has enough presence of mind (and maybe a small flicker of hope) to offer these childish gifts to Jesus even though his hard-nosed adult rationality gets in the way. "What are they among so many?" Andrew asks. But Jesus likes the child's solution. He uses the little boy's gift to feed the 5,000. Andrew looked at the five loaves and two fish and saw puniness. Jesus looked at them and saw possibilities.
The child taught the disciples a lesson that day. They should have been looking for ways to succeed instead of reasons to fail. His gift opened the way for Jesus and the disciples to achieve their goal. I'm glad we hear the sounds of noisy children at Imagine Church. May they always remind us to see everything in Christ: trees and fields, homes and tasks, animals and people -- and to be thankful to God.
In the name of the One who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
Bruce Jones, Pastor and Co-Creator,
Imagine Church of the Carolinas