Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Three Egg Omelette Challenge



On a Saturday morning we like to watch a cookery programme called “Saturday Kitchen”. They have guest chefs who demonstrate favourite recipes, celebrities that choose their food hell and food heaven for the viewers to vote on, and there are always a couple of viewers invited on to the programme to be the guinea pigs and taste the various recipes.

One regular feature of the programme is a challenge for the guest chefs to make a three egg omelette in a little time as possible and depending on how quickly they do it, they get posted onto a leader board. We are talking about mere seconds! What they call on omelette looks suspiciously like scrambled egg to me and not the least bit appetising.

I am into week two of my hunt for the man! Seeing as I didn’t find him at last week’s church meeting, I thought I would try another church.

It feels like a three egg omelette challenge taking the opportunity to visit other churches in the morning now that we are meeting in the evening. However much I want to just take the meeting as it is, there is the inevitability of comparing one with another, and also comparing them with my own church.

With the three egg omelette challenge there are things that they all have in common – three eggs, a pan, oil, heat, a whisk, seasoning and a ticking clock. The end result for the most part looks rather similar too. What’s different, although not really that different, is the actions of the chefs. Some of them want to be on the leader board so they rush and hurry and serve up a pile of goo on a plate. Others, although they also want to be on the leader board, also want to serve up a proper omelette and they seem not to be able to lay aside cooking protocol!

What would be the things that churches have in common – worship songs perhaps? The sermon? The welcome when you arrive? The tea and coffee at the end? None of that really matters to some extent if you don’t encounter God! It is nice to be welcomed when you arrive – and I have been made to feel very welcome. The worship songs – today’s church pips the post rather. Not because the songs were familiar – they weren’t. The musicians were good. It wasn’t so much them as me – I was ready to worship and wanted to connect. The sermon this time around was challenging, not that last’s week’s wasn’t! The tea and coffee – the first church was better – much nicer biscuits!

But did I connect with God? Yes I did, but I missed my own church family very much. Many of the avenues that I connect with God don’t come in isolation. It is not the words or the music that always does it – but the familiar faces and the way my church family look at me. It is a familiar smile and an affirming nod from someone I know that makes my encounters with God to be so much more real. I know where I stand with them. I am not a stranger or a visitor but an essential part of their encounter with God too.

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