So this weekend, both campuses of Connexus are wide open to everyone. I’m so excited that Orillia is publicly launching this weekend. It’s our prayer, our hope, our goal, that scads of people who had given up on God or on church and reams of people who have never explored either will flood into Orillia and Barrie.
If you think about it, that will be kind of amazing. What will that be like? I know many of you have invited friends, and you probably know them well enough to know that many of them have unusual ideas about God and, like the rest of us, lots to learn. Historically, Christians can even get uptight about new people "learning" how to behave in front of God quickly. Not sure God is nearly as concerned as we are.
Jesus called God "Abba" — a term that pretty much
means ‘daddy’, and invited us into the same intimate relationship with God that He had — a relationship all of us were actually designed for. He also said that if were to really get the Kingdom of God thing, we would have to become like little children.
I was reminded of all this recently when I encountered a charming little four year old named Kayla. Kayla is the daughter of one of our elders and his wife who have offered their home (a very nice basement) to our staff as a temporary HQ. Kayla wanders down once in a while and she’s started visiting me regularly.
Last week, when I was sick, she took her costume box out and decided it would be great to dress me up. I had all kinds of tiaras, purple silk fabric and dresses thrown all over me. She thought it was quite cute. I was too queasy to fight back. The staff snapped pictures with their cell phones and will sell the photos to you at inflated prices. (Talk to them.)
What amazed me is that she had no fear. She just thought it was perfectly normal.
She came in again the other day and asked me if I could see anything because my glasses were off. I jokingly told her I couldn’t see anything at all. She didn’t miss a beat and said she’d clean them. She licked her fingers and started wiping the lenses and then simply stuck out her tongue and gave them a total wipedown (good thing for her I keep them clean). I thanked her.
What I was amazed by was her calm boldness, and the wonderfully innocent sense she had that all she was doing was very appropriate. I realize how fragile that kind of trust is in this world, and valued it deeply.
I wonder if sometimes God wants us to come to Him like a little child — wide eyed, opened, trusting and happy to be in His presence. The behaviour may not always be "socially acceptable" — but thank God for that.
There are hundreds of people ready to get into some kind of a relationship with God this weekend. They’ll be wondering whether they’ve "got it right" and whether it’s even "okay" to be there. I think we just need to send the message that absolutely it’s okay to be there, and encourage them to explore God and approach Him unashamedly, even if they get a few things "wrong" in our eyes. We need to keep the kind of environment open where fundamentally all of us can enter into a direct, personal, trusting relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus. A little bit like a four year old did with me over the last month.
God is our Abba, our daddy. And we can come to Him like little children. Somehow, I think that kind of innocent and wide eyed trust really pleases God. This weekend, bring it on! Invite everyone you can – and yourself – into it!