I just spent the morning at a meeting of the Tampa Bay Presbytery. I made the trip because Rebekah handed over the gavel as moderator today, but first she had the opportunity to preach at the opening worship service.
She used the (super-cool) bumble bee story I referenced a few weeks ago, along with the companion bicycle illustration. The point being that the church was not built by Jesus to be static, but dynamic, and that we need to constantly stay on the move if we don't want to fall flat on our faces. This is a time of transition for the church in Tampa, and the last thing we should do is nothing...
... But of course that's (doing nothing) always the temptation. Not only the temptation but the practice. We're very good - in institutions especially - at pontificating, posturing, arguing, analyzing and completely getting in the way of the Gospel.
The message we have been charged with communicating in this world is simple. Jesus is offering an invitation to live in the way that God intended from the foundations of the world. This "New and Living Way" is awesome, exciting, gratifying, fulfilling, rewarding.... in other words, worth sharing with everyone.
"But what message are we communicating," Rebekah asked rhetorically, "when the only evidence of Christ-life that we offer is all about politics and agendas and fuss and undermining and sabotage. And when we demonstrate so little in the way of peace, even less in terms of love, mere fragments of grace, and no measurable joy whatsoever...?" (My paraphrasing)
So she smiled, she had the joy of salvation all over her face, she wore her passion not as an accessory but as definitive molecular-level DNA, and she challenged the Tampa Bay Presbyterians to move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of living Gospel out loud - like we mean it!
Her last paragraph - which she sung - was the classic rock anthem by Queen: "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like...."
And then she pulled out the bicycle ringer-dinger I had purchased at K-Mart just a half hour before. "Ring-ring, ring-ring - riiiiiinnnnngggg."
And then, after all that, she was ready to hand over the gavel.