The Cars released a song in 1982 titled "Shake it up." It was a little cheesy. Well, actually, most early '80's songs were a little cheesy. Ric Ocasek, the group's lead singer, wrote the song a few years before it was released and it was supposed to be a blend of their earlier hard rock style with the new '80's synthesizers and drum machines. Funny thing is, it actually worked. It's a great song, and I guess it was played at practically every high school dance I ever went to.
What is cool about this song is that on the surface, it's just a dance song. But dig just a little deeper, look just under the surface, and you'll find that it actually has a slightly more existential meaning. This song is encouraging you to leave a mark in the world, to make a difference. And I believe that is exactly what Jesus would say. Well, maybe not exactly like Ric Ocasek did, but probably close.
Yesterday I shook it up a bit. I should probably apologize to my folks at church for any apprehension I might have caused over the last couple weeks, but yesterday, we turned the worship service over to the Holy Spirit. Talk about shaking things up. The worship bulletins were blank except for the prayer to the Holy Spirit...
"Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. Kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth..."
If you pray that prayer, you had better be ready.
I don't know how my folks felt about it. I'm sure there was some fear and trepidation at what this smart aleck preacher was going to do next. But for me, that was one of the best worship services we've had since I've been here. We threw in a few extra songs, had a couple specials, celebrated our graduates, even took requests for a favorite hymn that we might not have sung in a while. It was, after all, Pentecost Sunday, so if you're going to cut loose in church that was the day. I will admit, though, giving myself over to the Spirit's leading and not having something on paper to fall back on was, at first, a little uneasy.
In my years of ministry I have been labeled a rebel, and I guess I am. I'm not so just to be so. I didn't set out to go against the grain, it just happened as who I was began to intermingle with what I was called to do, but I don't fight it anymore. I've learned that sometimes being a Jesus freak means you have to shake things up a bit. Sometimes it bites me in the tail, sometimes it actually works.
If I never took a risk I would never have to fear that failure. If I never took a risk, I would miss a lot of blessings. Being in ministry, real ministry, is risky. Getting folks to jump on board, or rather, out of the boat with you, is tough sometimes. But dog gone it's fun when it actually works. Next week I'll have all of our liturgies and creeds back where they're supposed to be, and we'll have our three songs and a message, but it was nice to let the Spirit shake things up a bit, even just once.
So, feeling a little risky? Shake it up a bit. Wherever you worship, whatever your commitment level, shake it up a bit. Not to be rebellious, but to realize that we are called, sometimes, to live on the edge, and I've heard it said, "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."