J.I Packer, a leading theologian, likened a vital church [one that is healthy] to a jazz band. His comment encouraged me to invite the Ashland University jazz band under the direction of Dr. Tom Reed to be featured in a chapel service at Ashland Theological Seminary. Dr. Marvin McMickle in his message, “Unity in Diversity” drew parallels between jazz and church life. When someone has a solo, the other musicians play a supporting role.
Another example of this is the Ashland University women’s basketball team, which has won two national championships and is presently heading for another such accomplishment. The players are a team that is amazingly effective, moving with Christ “as the hub.”
As I see the church, each denomination is like a spoke in a wheel. These spokes are connected to Christ, the head of the church. When each spoke is strong, the wheel rotates smoothly. When the church is functioning as it should, there is no competition between churches, but rather a beautiful spirit of cooperation. The “Church of Ashland” [a composite of all the churches] could and should be a “winning team.”
Our schools are another important team. It consists of administrators, teachers, staff, and parents working together for the good of each student. An efficient team is characterized by a cooperative spirit among its members. In our obsession with social media we can lose the essence of community. Strong interpersonal relationships are an integral part of life together.
We need to move beyond what we do in our various roles, to why we do it. This will affect how we serve. Michael, Jr., a stand-up comedian in what he calls “Break Time” illustrates this in a convincing way. I think the viewing of this video would be a great help for all of us.
In a nurturing atmosphere of love and support, people of all ages will survive and better yet, thrive. In our community foster families are helping to provide nurture for children in dire need of help. Our schools and other leadership groups need prayer and support. Is there a cost too great to rescue those who are victims of abuse and/or neglect of all kinds?
Together we’ll stand, divided we’ll fall. Let’s replace a critical spirit with encouragement. Robyn Fralick, the coach of our winning basketball team said, “The grass is green where it is watered.” Let’s be salt, light, and dispensers of living water in our families, schools, and other potentially vital groups to which we belong. Let the “greening of our community” begin again; spring is here!