Viral Vision

Vision is slippery.  It’s wiggly and hard to pin down.  Just when you think you have it figured out, you find vision leaks and shifts and changes and emerges and evolves.

So, it’s something of a feat when vision sticks.  It worth celebrating when vision spreads.

This weekend as our worship gathering was closing and folks were greeting one another and heading back out into the world, a young boy and his grandmother approached where I was standing near the platform.

He had a question.

“How do you make a rubber band ball?”

You may have noticed, I’ve been talking rubber band balls recently.  I’ve basically been trying to share the answer to the boy’s question on a metaphorical level.  Rubber band balls have served as the guiding metaphor for this blog, but they are also featuring heavily in the current sermon series we are working through.  I’ve started each message with some sort of explanation of how the rubber band ball can be an image for what we are called to be and do as a church (ecclesiology), as well as, what our personal role might look like (incarnation).

The genesis of these thoughts rests in some personal reflection I was doing as we prepared to open our new worship center.  I kept asking, “Why church?  What is compelling about our story?  Why would people come?”

One answer rose to the top…relationship.

Not much of a vision perhaps, but I found myself drawn to this simple solution.  And as I searched for a way to make the vision concrete, I came to the rubber band ball.

Staff received one.  I bounced mine around the office.  I talked about it.  I created this blog.  I changed my screen saver, facebook cover image, and twitter background.  Rubber band balls became a part of me.

Now this young boy was asking how to make a rubber band ball.

I excitedly began to describe the process.  “You have to start with a solid core.  It can be a super-bouncy ball, or a golf ball, but I started with rubber bands tightly wound together.”

I was miming the way I rolled the rubber bands together, but I  didn’t think I was describing it very well.  Then, out-of-the-blue, my daughter reached in her pocket and pulled out the start of her own rubber band ball.  Just the size of a marble and the perfect example of what I was trying to explain.  I could tell the boy “got it.”  As he and his grandmother headed off, I imagined him searching through desk drawers, unwrapping old newspapers, and scrounging together as many rubber bands as he could find in order to start his own ball.

I’ll keep coming back to this metaphor.  I’ll keep bouncing my ball around the office.  I’ll get excited each time someone asks me about creating their own ball.  I’ll keep pointing folks to see the rubber bands as relationships and the balls as the collection of our lives lived together.

It may not be much of a vision, and it hasn’t gone viral (yet), but it’s starting to catch on and I’m finding that to be pretty exciting.

Life is better together,
Shawn

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