"I have come that they might have life and have it to the full..." -John 10:10b

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


**Let's face it, I haven't really been in a super bloggy mood in the past few days. But, I still want to post something on a daily basis, and so I've taken the opportunity to practice some photography techniques and post some tidbits written by people I love. This post is no different. My dear cousin, MaryWells has recently begun to send out a daily devotional over email called Practical Jesus. I am enjoying these devotionals immensely and today's was so inspiring that I really felt I should share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you do, and you'd like to subscribe to Practical Jesus, please leave me a comment with your email address and I'll ask her to include it on her subscriber list.**

"I could practically live in quotes: book quotes, comedian quotes, movie quotes, slogan quotes. Yes, I come from that annoying and yet entertaining family that can sit in room and have their entire conversation in “quotations” that no one else understands, unless they’ve seen and memorized all of the exact same movies and comedians that we have. We often find ourselves stopping and trying to explain our strange interaction to the “deprived and uncultured” people in the room so that they don’t feel TOO left out, but it’s never as good as just handing them the DVD and saying, “Enjoy the full length version!” I have some friends who also live in quotes of TV shows that I don’t normally get to watch, and rather than feel excluded because I “don’t get it,” I am so amused at THEIR amusement, and they are always saying, “You HAVE to watch this show! It’s just GREAT!” They don’t treat their language like a code for some exclusive club, but instead like a higher form of communication that they are just aching for everyone else to learn as well!

Last year on a Sunday night in June, I went to hang out with the college and young career-age group at a friend’s church. Upon arrival, I was told they had decided to play a game I had never heard of called “Sardines”, using the entire church building as the “playground.” (Thankfully I had been in this church many times before—otherwise I would have been a goner!) I’ll admit, I didn’t have very high expectations for playing something that sounded like hide-and-seek with a bunch of twenty-something year olds. But the game began. We turned off the lights in the entire church building and were guided only by the gentle red glow of the exit signs and the small bit of light from the outside street lamps that peered in through the windows. The game began by all twenty of us congregating in an empty Sunday School class room while only ONE person went to hide. That’s right… it was like REVERSE hide-and-seek! We gave the IT person plenty of time to find an obscure spot in a sanctuary or kitchen cabinet, then we ALL set out to search for him or her. The catch is this: when you find the IT person, you don’t announce it. Instead, you squish yourself into that hiding place as well, and stay there as quietly as possible. When the next person comes along, they too squoosh in and hide with you. Now obviously, if the hiding place IS, in fact, a kitchen cabinet, people simply begin forming an amoebic conglomerate of bodies that spreads across the entire kitchen floor, vibrating with the suppression of convulsive laughter. When you finally do come across this (remember, we’re in the dark) mass of bodies, it is all you can possibly do to squelch the uncontrollable giggling that comes over you! Then with that excitement that makes you want to wet your pants, you too sit down on the floor and scooch in as tightly as possible. The last person to find everyone is the one who is IT on the next round, but usually by the time that person walks into the room, everyone simply explodes into hysterical laughter and begins sharing their personal stories about how THEY figured out where everyone was, and what they were thinking while sitting on so-and-so’s foot or backed up to so-and-so’s head, etc. I don’t know that I’ve had more fun in my adult life thus far.

Shortly thereafter, I came across a QUOTE about Sardines! J Go figure.

“Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is IT goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found.

Medieval theologians even described God, in hide-and-seek terms, calling him Deus Absconditus. But me, I think old God is a Sardine player. And will be found the same way everybody gets found in Sardines - by the sound of laughter of those heaped together at the end."
--Robert Fulghum

Have you ever felt the pains of being excluded for the mere sake of being excluded? It may not have happened to you since high school, but when people don’t feel unique or special, they try to make themselves that way by coming up with something that other people cannot do or be. I’m sorry to say that I’ve also seen this happen in the church, and was probably guilty of it myself. I can remember arguing in middle school with another Christian about some random doctrinal topic. It was sixth-grade silliness, but what it amounted to was simply, “My denomination is better than your denomination.” Good GRIEF! Were we missing the point, or what?!?!

Like Fulghum, I believe more and more that while Jesus is uncompromising in His demand for our whole heart and soul, Christians themselves should be the most excited and welcoming bunch of people in the world. We may seem to speak a different lingo—“Christianese”—at times, but not with the intention of excluding others. Like a good movie, we should be eagerly desiring to share the experience with others so that they’ll know what we’re talking about!

My Practical Jesus says this:

Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
--from Matthew 5:14 (MSG)

Let’s always remember that God WANTS to be found. He’s not always in the most obvious places, but it shouldn’t be too hard for others to track Him down when His children are already bunched around Him in excited expectation of the day when the last person finally walks in the door and the lights come on for everyone. We want as many people as possible to pile in before the game is over!

Lord, I’m sorry for the times when I’ve forgotten to be generous with my life… everything I have comes from You anyways! I don’t know why I think I’m supposed to keep it for myself. I know that You only bless Your children so that we can bless others as an example of You. Help us to be more like You—to be Jesus’ hands and feet in a lost and dying world. Show us practical ways to love those that You’re trying to draw unto Yourself, beginning with our own brothers and sisters in Christ. May Christ be glorified and lifted up by all that we do, and may our lives spread the very aroma of Jesus wherever we go.



1 comments on ""SARDINES""

Jacquie Ryan Photographic on May 10, 2009 at 12:37 PM said...

Add me! Thanks. :D