January 24, 2011

A Game of Pick-Up-Sticks

On a dusty shelf I spied one of my favorite childhood games: Pick-up-sticks. 

I presented the game to the kids during dinner and explained the premise: Drop the clutch of sticks onto the ground and then pick up one at a time, taking care not to move another stick. Your turn ends if another stick jostles; whoever has the most sticks at the end of the game wins.

It’s not rocket science, and it didn’t require any batteries, but it entertained a 6-year-old and 9-year-old until bedtime. 

I’m a fan of wordplay, puns and analogies, so after I tucked in the kids and began to muse about my Vital Practices blog, I thought how the church has been playing its own version of Pick-up-sticks for decades. We too often walk around on eggshells for the sake of a false gentility instead of being honest with each other, instead of being in real relationships. Those are messy and tangled and not easily extricated from. 

If we are to live out our baptismal vows, it must be within a community of faith and with a recognition that our actions impact others. If we live in isolation, then we’re missing out. 

This week, I challenge each of you to reach out to someone in your community and talk about your faith. It might mean acknowledging that you’re blessed, not just lucky. It might mean offering a prayer of thanksgiving when a friend tells of a health scare that turned out to be a false alarm. Perhaps you’ve been feeling an urge to invite someone to church or to call someone who’s been missing from the pews. 

See these as God’s gentle nudging and take action, even if it means a little movement into your un-comfort zone. And share with us your experiences.

After all, that’s part of being in community too.