2019 July Pastor’s Pen

From the Pastor…

Recently I was talking with someone about baseball in general and the Pittsburgh Pirates in particular.  Eventually the conversation got around to the immensely popular 1989 movie Field of Dreams.  Field of Dreams was not only a huge box office hit, but has now grown to be a cult classic.  This quirky, quiet little film about an Iowa farmer who listens to the advice of a disembodied voice and builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield has become a symbol of hope for thousands of people suffering from severe “dream-deficiency.”  Field of Dreams struck deep chords in the American psyche, offering a positive alternative to an American Dream that for too many has become a nightmare.  The phrase “field of dreams” has moved beyond its movie roots and has entered our language as a metaphor.  There are now calls for a new field of dreams for our planet, a new field of dreams for America, a new field of dreams for African-Americans and women, a new field of dreams for science and technology.  Field of Dreams has become shorthand for daring, optimism, hope, and visioning.  So why do we rarely see or hear a call for a new field of dreams for the church?  Could it be that the church, which began as a field of dreams for the outcast and outsider, has for some people today become such a field of boredom, a field of bafflement, a field of battlement, that a field of dreams seems outside the reach of even the highest imagination?  The truth is that the church, no matter how stodgy and out-of-shape she has become, is still in God’s hands.  The church’s future is never predictable or plotted out because the Holy Spirit, the animating breath of the church, blows up storms and whirlwinds without any notice.  It’s been said that after then President George H. Bush saw the movie Field of Dreams, he walked out shaking his head in perplexity and muttering, “I just don’t get it.”  Those naysayers in the church, who can only bemoan its decline, share that same attitude- they just “don’t get it.”  They don’t “get” that the Spirit will do its work, that the hand of God is still upon us, that the future is where our field of dreams still lies. 

          To “just not get it” in today’s high-speed, high-tech culture is a death blow.  Congregations that refuse to get with it, to look forward to the future instead of wishing for some mythical good old days, with die spiritually, if not physically.  To make the church once again into a field of dreams, we must reclaim our Pentecostal heritage.  The Spirit must be allowed to circulate through the sanctuary, stirring things up, pushing us to unexpected places.  Does anything ever bring tears to our eyes or make us jump up and down?  Can the spirit make us smile, or even laugh out loud in church?  Church is not just the place where we come to “think about God” for one hour out of the week.  It is a place to feel God with all our emotions and all our being, a place where Christ becomes present in the bread and wine of Communion.

          It is easy to forget who and what the church is.  To outsiders we may look like any other organization.  But the church is not an organization we join; rather, it is an organism of which we are living members.  Pentecost reminds us that our purpose is to be none other than the body of Christ.  We do not need all the trimmings to be a church.  We need the Spirit of Christ in order to be a Christ body to the community and the country.  To make Christ enfleshed, incarnated, embodied through a Spirit-filled community, the church must pour out a heart filled with self-sacrificing love.  Our church, our community, our country, our world needs it more than ever! 

              With a Spirit of Love,