Last night’s QAF Session was my favorite so far.
There was me, Steve, Tim, Latisha, Lindsey, Jarred, TJ, Tabitha, Jason, Snow, and Mik. And everybody contributed in some fashion.
Towards the end, I wanted to talk about my passion for following Jesus, and how it’s not something that can be done in solitude. That’s when an unusual metaphor entered my mind.
I don’t know if you’re too young, or too old, to have ever played with Transformers, but I loved them as a kid. The action figures were essentially robots that, if you cranked their torsos, or flipped their heads, etc, etc, they would become cars or planes or dinosaurs. The ultimate Transformer was a massive guy that was constructed by assembling six different Transformers together: one for each leg, one for each arm, and one for the head and one for the torso. First you had to own all six toys, and even then it took some work to get them all put together just right. And once you did, you had… FORTRESS MAXIMUS.
You could definitely have fun with each of the six individual Transformers. They were great toys. But you couldn’t play with one for long without wanting to put it together with the other five and create the Ultimate Toy that was freakin’ two-and-a-half feet tall.
I am not a kid asking for more toys for Christmas just so I can have more toys. I am the leg of Fortress Maximus, and I’m just trying to collect them all, to be part of the finished product.
Fast-forwarding a bit, to my high school years, imagine me in a green-and-gold marching band uniform. (As long as we’re imagining, let’s say that it made me look dashing and sophisticated.) I played the saxophone, which is a great instrument. You can stand out on the sidewalk and play whatever, and people will throw money in your case. I did it for the Salvation Army once (though there was a kettle instead of a case) and I played Christmas songs in front of the Front Porch long before it opened, last December.
Playing the saxophone by yourself is fun. But a part of you always wants to put it together with something else…. with piano and drums to make a jazz combo, or three other saxophones to make a sax quartet. Or… 250 instruments of all kinds to make a Marching Band.
My high school marching band was just that big, too. HUGE. Sometimes we would take half an hour to enter a stadium for a marching band competition in a single file line, just to intimidate the other bands by our sheer size. (Wow… was that really as dorky as it sounds to me now?)
But size wasn’t really the point. The point is to get together some people who know how to play the saxophone, with some who can play the trumpet, the trombone, the tuba, the flute, the clarinet, the fluegelhorn, the snare, the bass drum, the quads, the cymbals, the marimba… and some people who can toss the flags and dance the drills, and you’ve got something there. Then all you’ve got to do is learn to march and put together a show that spells out the name of your school, or something.
I’m not a recruiter standing on the sidewalk, talking people into playing and marching so we can have the biggest band in the state. I am a saxophonist who wants the whole set… someone to play every part, and stand in the right spots so we can make our formations.
I’m not an evangelist… a promoter of Christianity. I don’t just want a large church, and certainly not a big name for myself. I’m just a Christ-follower with a certain set of gifts, trying to complete the beautiful, diverse picture that God has given me of the Body of Christ. Don’t become a Christian just to be on the winning team. Join us because we need your help. God has given you a gift that we don’t have yet, and maybe that’s why we’re struggling… maybe that’s why we seem to be lacking something important. Because you’re holding out on us.
The secular world talks a lot about diversity, but when we’re at our best, they ain’t got nothin’ on the Body of Christ.