One of the favourite kid’s songs we have sung over the years is the one that Lori Pauls leads called “God loves a picnic!” This week we’ll be worshiping at Ball’s Falls, and having a picnic. Our worship service is focussing on the text from the gospel of John where Jesus feeds the 5000 people. He tells them, “I am the bread of life”.
The early church didn’t begin in buildings; people were outside preaching. Bystanders would be drawn in to hear a speaker, there would have been visiting, or eating, or kids playing, all while people were speaking. I recently preached on the story of Peter on the day of Pentecost. He was outside; there were probably people just wandering by who happened to hear his voice, who were drawn in. There were probably kids playing, chariots rolling by, soldiers marching; a bevy, a crowd of distractions. And yet he kept preaching, and 3000 people decided to follow Jesus that day.
As we share the gospel, as we share communion, as we eat our picnic in a public place, we open ourselves to wanderers-by, who wonder what we are doing. Remember when we went to Charles Daley Park for baptism? The sunbathers and dog-walkers stopped and stared, some people moseyed over and asked what we were up to!
I think God loves a picnic because we aren’t closed in by four walls, we aren’t closed in by protecting insulating barriers, we are out there as Christians. I wonder who will wander by our service this year?
This week’s prayer: Give us joy as we worship, and openness to the great blue sky, to your word, to the people you love who will join us.
“God loves a picnic!” is written by Bryan Moyer Suderman http://www.smalltallmusic.com