Is Everything Awesome?

Lego MovieThe Lego Movie is a brilliant, fun-filled, unplug your brain, and enjoy the ride movie, and it has done very well in the box office both sides of the atlantic. Just in case you haven’t seen the movie or   wish you hadn’t! The basic premise is that, the main character Emmett (a Lego builder man) is living the idyllic life, with all his other legolites,  a chance encounter with a girl and the learning of a prophecy, makes him question his reality. He eventually realises everything isn’t quite as awesome, as he thought or at least not until its fixed! Que lots of Lego battles with an evil Lego overlord.

As with these kinds of movies there is a theme song, that seeps into your brain and gets lodged there. The song for this movie has done just that, I have random moments where I find myself just singing the song for no reason! (please send help lol) Its called Everything Is Awesome, which is up there in likability with Barbie Girl but not quite in the same league as Star Trekking, which is obviously better! As this song has lodged in my cranium it reminded me of, quite strangely, church!

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Like in the song from the movie, we might be lead to believe by certain preachers, churches, or christian TV broadcasts that everything in faith can be awesome, after all God is good all the time, right! The flip side we might discover, or experience from these places is that if things are not totally awesome in our lives, or we are not instantly healed, their must be something wrong with us or there must be some sin in our life  that hasn’t yet been confessed.

I attended with my wife all be it briefly, when on holiday, a church like this, it had a big stage with 30 backing singers,  stewards with slightly scary, wide smiling grins. It got even more interesting Later on, as I watched  the preacher try to hype up the crowd, for more ‘conversions’. After the service my wife and I were ushered to the welcome lounge for special newcomers treatment,  we settled down at a table and into a conversation with an assistant pastor who the whole time looked over my shoulder at who else was coming in. Have to say we left that church not feeling very awesome! But then no church is perfect.

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Who doesn’t want to live an awesome life, whatever that might look like for us, being super rich or just breaking even,  being famous or making a difference whether you are noticed or not. On the most part people want to have awesome, fulfilled and brilliant lives, free from pettiness, discrimination and selfishness, I know I do! We  strive for this image of  perceived awesomeness in so many varied places chasing the rumour, or scent, of that which seems so illusive for so many of us.

Let me paint you another picture of what lived out awesomeness might look like. The second church my wife and I attended on that holiday was, The Blue Mountains (Katoomba) Uniting Church. We were staying at the truly brilliant local YHA  do check it out if you ever in the blue mountains. It was a sunday evening and we went out to find a church to go to. We had noticed that a service was about to start in the church in the picture above and quickly made our way to the side door. We went in and were genuinely and warmly welcomed, by a small group of people of ages similar to ours, who all sat on plastic chairs in an oval. If I remember, worship was with modern worship songs  aided by an ancient overhead projector and elderly pianist.

During the service it was mentioned that their minister had died the previous week, I would imagine for those there, there would have been a wrestling with God and at the same time, a faithful trying to trust God in the midst of there personal grief.  But this service wasn’t self indulgent in any way, as shown as by what happened in the prayers for others. The preacher simply stopped, smiled at us and asked if there was anything at all they could pray for us about? The congregation looked at us with interest and kindness, we were blown away. After a final song and blessing the service ended, they then explained to us, that now they all go to a local cafe bar and would we like to come? Which we gladly did.

This was the point where that dream of awesomeness and wonder became present, in a unashamed and real acknowledgement of a God who loves us and if we want walks with us, no matter if we are near or far off, grieving our dead pastor or on a spiritual high. In that church on a sunday evening in 2004 we were made to feel as though we were family, their simple practical and spiritual generosity and welcome, made us feel at home, on the flip side of the world, on a wet and cold Auzzie winters day. We have never forgotten it and never will. I do believe its alright to strive for awesomeness or greatness in life, but not at the expense of others, offering a faith to others that is unrealistic and barren of spiritual depth or theological robustness, and doesn’t do the long and sometimes lonely journey of life with us expecting nothing in return.

I will try to not use the word awesome as much in my next post, see you next Thursday.

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