Friday, July 10, 2015

Helium, God, and the Church



Most of us want as little of God as possible.

    We don’t want to admit it of course, but God scares us.  My friend Brian Baer once read a meditation in our Sunday school class called “Just a cup of God please.”  It said that God is prepared to pour out blessings on us through a fountain the size of Niagara Falls.  But we come prepared to collect it in a tea cup because we’re afraid of what God might do with us if we had more.

    The other day I saw a yard sale sign with balloons attached to it but the balloons had been there too long.  Instead of floating, they just sort of hung there.

Lifeless. 

    As I drove by, it occurred to me that our churches are a lot like that.  We are like a balloon.  We are a vessel that takes its shape by being filled with the Spirit of God.  The more of him we contain, the more we begin to take the shape that he intends for us, the more we look like what God intends for us to look.

But to get there, we have to be stretched.

    Balloons aren’t useful unless they are stretched.  Until they are stretched, and dangerously close to bursting, they do not, they cannot, do the thing that they are intended to do.  If they aren’t stretched, they just hang there… lifeless.  

That's exactly how many of us are.  We want God to come into the church, but too much of God frightens us.  

Being stretched is hard.

It scares us.

    We’re afraid of what might happen if we allow too much of God to come into our lives.  When balloons are too full they fly away or they burst.  We’ve read the stories in the Bible.  When God fills people up, scary things happen.  Life feels like it’s out of control.  Lives are changed.  God asks people to do things they’ve never done before.

Like helium in a balloon, when God comes in we get stretched.

    But if a balloon isn’t stretched by the helium in it, there isn’t enough to overcome the effects of gravity that is pulling it down and it just hangs there.  Lifeless.

    Likewise, even though it might feel safer, when there isn’t enough God in us to stretch us, then there isn’t enough of God to overcome the evil in the world that drags us down.  Without enough of God in the church, we look just like every other human organization. 

We don’t have enough God in us to take his shape.

I know that it’s scary.

Being stretched is uncomfortable.

Being filled with God feels dangerous (and it is).

But if we aren’t filled with enough God to really stretch us…

                  …we will never fly.






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