Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Greatest Show on Earth

  A friend gave us tickets to the circus last week, so we spent the evening being entertained by what's been called the Greatest Show on Earth.  As we enjoyed the generosity of our friend, I noticed something.  The performers were a bit sloppy.  We've been to the circus before, and I didn't remember it being so relaxed.  The dancers fell out of line and the jugglers dropped the occasional bowling pin.  Trying to deny my naturally critical nature, I watched on.  It was fun, and the kids were enthralled, so I soon became lost in the flashy production and stopped noticing flaws.  Then I realized there were no mistakes because I was watching the tight rope walkers.  They couldn't make a mistake.  Even with a safety net, falling from sitting atop a bike rider on a high wire is still dangerous at best.  Also, the tiger tamer was on his game.  Again, one mistake and he could be catnip.

  The acts involving life or death situations were much more precise than the others.  It made me think of the church.  We're told in Scripture that we're in a spiritual war, yet we tend to live with a peacetime mentality.  If we recognized the dangers that surround us on a daily basis, would we act differently?  Would we be more motivated to read and understand our Bibles and spend more time in prayer?  Would we be willing to sacrifice a bit more of our creature comforts to aid those trapped in the enemy's camp?  Would we be more precise and less relaxed with our faith?

  I also observed the clowns attracting attention as the sets changed in the shadows.  That brought another analogy to mind.  It seems we sometimes take our attention off the real changes (like the transformation in Maria I talked about in my last post) to focus on winning the approval of others in order to get them into our assemblies.  Thinking about that made me glad I have invested in my Christian sister over and above the skeptical and the disinterested who have darkened our door.  Those people would still be sitting with us each Sunday, consuming time and resources if we had put our energy into entertaining them instead of investing in the real changes taking place among the faithful.  Granted, we still pray for them, but we don't humor their lack of faith on a weekly basis.  Jesus purposely ran off the crowds who sought entertainment and fringe benefits.

  I share this, not to call into question anyone's sincerity, but to encourage all of us to take a look at ourselves and the community we call church.  Are we aware of the life and death nature of our calling? Are we focusing on entertaining the masses through programs and exciting worship more than investing in the real changes taking place in the shadows like the healing of a marriage or the spiritual growth of an individual?  Are we the church that Jesus established, or are we ourselves The Greatest Show on Earth?


  1. All I can say to this is WOW! What a great analogy!! And so very true. Thanks! Love your blog posts!