Friday, June 29, 2007


My niece, Claire, loves penguins. Just ask her sometime to dance in her best “Happy Feet” impression. She learned from a small, albeit animated, penguin that one of the roads to happiness is keeping her feet moving to an inner rhythm.
While “Happy Feet” was a delightful animated movie, my penguin favorite is “March of the Penguins.” Following the annual pilgrimage of Emperor penguins in the Antarctica to their wintering place, this documentary pictures some of the most beautifully harsh terrain one will ever see. The effervescent depth of the blue in their ocean home and the bitter white of their winter refuge provide a visually impacting statement of the cycle of their lives.
The penguins march for days, their numbers in single file stretching for miles until they arrive at a plain where countless ancestors have wintered. There, an egg is deposited by the mother and quickly cradled by the father. And then it gets interesting. The mothers leave for the nourishment of the sea and the fathers huddle together to bear all that winter throws at them. This is a necessity for an egg that falls to the icepack will freeze in moments. In this mass communal huddling, the fathers are warmed and the eggs are protected.
It’s this life in the wintering ground that gets me thinking about the church and First Baptist, in particular. The easy thinking is that we are facing a winter in the cycle of life for FBC and the best step for us is to huddle together, share the cold and protect our resources while we wait for the new life of spring.
Or, are we asked to respond differently?
In Mark 2, Jesus returns to Capernaum and crowds squeeze around him so tightly that no one is able to get close. So closely, that even those needing healing or comfort from Jesus couldn’t get to him. Realizing this, four men removed roof tiles, dug through the roof and lowered their paralytic friend to get him to Jesus. You know the story, Jesus, seeing the faith of his friends, healed the man, asked him to pick up his pallet and walk. The story ends with the crowds glorifying God for the miracle they had seen.
I think we are being called to be a people of roof-tile breakers, not a barricade of backs. Are there persons in our community who may not see anything of Jesus’ great love because of a huddled barricade of backs? Who of our circle needs to be carried to the Christ of forgiveness, healing, care and comfort? It was the tile-breaking faith of his friends that allowed the man to receive forgiveness and healing. Which tiles do we as the people of First Baptist Church need to break to introduce this Jesus to a hurting world?