The other day at work when I was talking with a 5 year old girl and she mentioned she and her cousin had been playing church. She continued in the conversation to detail other games she played but my mind got stuck on the Playing church game.I had never heard of such a game and it caught my attention. I had to diverge and take the 30 seconds to ask just what playing church meant. The little girl, so bright and sweet looked at me like I had asked the most ridiculous question. With her head tilted to inform me that I ought to know she said, "Playing church is when I hit my cousin in the forehead and he falls down." They she went on to describe another unrelated game like I should have just known what playing church meant. I chuckled at the answer and the image of these two children playing church. Later that day I started to wonder more about the meaning of this game.
I started thinking, what would the game of playing church look like if the child was at another church? Perhaps the child would sit as still as she could, hands folded in her lap and not move a muscle. Maybe she would shush her playmate to be quiet. Possibly she would be waving her hands shouting hallelujah. Perhaps she would stand up and sing slowly an old hymn. Perhaps she would be rocking out to a contemporary chorus. Maybe she would be the methodical almost monotone preacher, talking eloquent words into a microphone. Quite possibly she would be the sweaty jumping around yelling at people preacher. I guess the point is that each church will be differently acted dependent upon what catches her attention during the service.
It is bad enough that we pigeonhole our denominations into actions and attitudes but What if the child's game was not "playing church" but "playing Christians"? I cringe of some of the ways that game would be played. I need to be more aware that others are watching how I live and through that interpret what it is to be a Christian. Ideally people gain their knowledge of Christ through the Bible. Realistically the Bible is not being read, and moreover our living example is a powerful tool exceedingly effective at helping others interpret what it means to be a Christian, good or bad.
I am grateful for this darling little girl who in not so many words, reminded me that I was being watched by all who know I am a Christian. I try to live an honest and transparent life but I know that if someone played the game "Allie as a Christian" I would be embarrassed and humbled by some of the scenes. If i were to write the script of that game I would choose to show Allie loving, caring, praying, and giving. Instead I need to realize that part of the script (perhaps one of the most important parts) is Allie in need of grace, Allie relying on God's strength and Allie the forgiven and I do not show those very much. Perhaps I ought to start.
This is quite the challenge stemming from such an innocent game, but one that is so important if others are to see past the Allie and straight onto God.
Shine on my friends, the good and the bad, God will shine through you!