At our youth program each week we begin by having some kind of activity. Well for the first time since we started in September it wasn’t raining or wet after a rain on Wednesday night. So this week were finally able to go outside for our activity. It was a beautiful evening and we divided the teens up into three groups. Each group was given two small wooden chairs and they had to get as many people to stand on them together without touching the ground. The main object was to get them working together in teams as a set-up for our lesson. As they were standing and stacking and moving around I heard one of the teens say, “A skunk.” I looked up and sure enough there was a skunk not too far from the group running toward a smaller storage building we have on the property. Within a few seconds the skunk disappeared without a trace – no stink and no problems. The game went on without a single real issue.
I have been thinking about that incident for a couple of days. I have had several thoughts about what this experience could have illustrated, but for me it is the perfect description for leading any Church activity. It reminds me that just when things appear to be going well, without warning at any moment things can begin to stink. I have been a part of events where babies wont stop crying, children run wildly through the crowd, a young girl fell and broke her arm, stage props have collapsed, the police have shown up, people have started shouting and a hundred other strange things have happened. I am sure that sitting in the crowd those days some people have thought, “this stinks.”
Now, I suppose this reality is true for anyone who leads any group, from school teachers to funeral directors, but the amazing thing for me is that in Church God continues to show up even when things get a little stinky. He somehow takes our off key music, our disorganized lessons, our disrupted setting and all of our mistakes and still touches people’s hearts. I have often sat amazed at how someone could tell me that it was the best worship program ever when I knew that at least a dozen things went wrong.
I thank God that we worship a God who is still at work even when a skunk is lurking around the building just waiting to pounce.