Below is my script for Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon:
There is nothing quite like snuggling up with your children to watch a cartoon.
As my daughter snuggled in, we enjoyed Disney’s The Jungle Book, and so far this week, we’ve looked at significant themes within the songs: following, contentment, trust and identity.
Now we look at belonging.
Mowgli feels abandoned and alone. A crisis most of us feel at some time.
He walks from the lush forest into the wastelands inhabited by the vultures.
He tells them why he is upset so they decide to sing him a song, that begins like this:
We’re your friends
We’re your friends to the bitter end
Who comes around
To pluck you up
When you are down
And when you’re outside, looking in
Who’s there to open the door?
That’s what friends are for!
For 2000 years the Church has been a place where people belong.
But this belonging is not merely social, though it is that.
It is not merely for the abandoned and alone, though it is that too.
It is not merely a place for singing great songs and hymns either.
But it is, primarily, and in the end, a community that exists for the sake of those who are outside it.
In the world of The Jungle Book, the Church invites the Baloo’s and Bagheera’s of this world, as much as it invites the Shere Khans and snakes.
This makes it a daring, risky and radical venture.
Always open to change; and always one generation away from extinction.
Jesus said to his followers, “Love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends…No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you.”
The Church is learning what God is like by following Jesus.
Where enemies become friends.
Slaves becomes sons and daughters.
And the lost become found.
Theologian and Pastor Rick Floyd writes, “There is no perfect church, just the ones we’ve got, full of imperfect people that God loves, and calls to be the Church.”
So next time you are “on the outside looking in,” as the vultures sing it, come in, find a seat, sing some salvation songs and just see what God will do!