AUGUST 3, 2018

The Floss

Dear Church,

Have you heard of “The floss”?  Don’t feel bad if you haven’t, this is a dance that apparently all the kids at Will’s school are doing.  Now, please hear this in the gracious spirit in which it is written coming from the perspective of a 35-year-old white male with two left feet.  Maybe it’s that Willem attends a predominantly African-American school, but for some reason unbeknown to me, he is a really good dancer.  Come to think of it, ever since he was three when he danced the night away at my brother Mark’s wedding, he has always had a double portion of rhythm when it comes to dancing.  The Floss.  The Plunger.  The Shoe.  Some dance with moves called “duff” and “bop.”  I seriously have no idea about this stuff, but he’s all about it.

So back to “The Floss.”  It’s basically a dance where you swing your hips and sway your arms in opposite directions.  Will is obsessed.  Like obsessed.  He does this dance subconsciously.  We’ll just find him for no apparent reason just “Flossing.”  And, lest you think he’s the only little boy out there Flossing, at the end-of-the-year baseball picnic there were nearly fifty kids aged six, seven and eight, all Flossing at the same time in the park.  I just shook my head.  Now the new game is to see if Sarah and I can “Floss.”  So, we’ve had dance offs.  I’m thankful these have not been recorded.  One day I had Will slow his flossing down and teach me how to do it.  I thinkI was getting close…maybe.  All I do know is that I was way better than Sarah whose latest attempt at the floss looked more like she was trying to hula-a-hoop while swatting a fly.

Trying new things is hard, isn’t it?  We don’t like to do things we’re not good at.  And when we’re not comfortable with something, we’re certainly less likely to try it and certainly not comfortable with keeping at it.  I was just thinking about that recently at an Elders meeting when I was sharing with them a challenge for them to look into their circle of influence and pick out someone whom they could invite to worship with them.  For many of us, that “ask” isn’t normal.  And even though it’s a real easy question, it doesn’t flow easily from our lips.  It’s hard for many of us who grew up going to church, or participating in the life of the church, or consistently attending worship; it was just something you did and so did seemingly everyone else.

Obviously, that is not the case anymore.  And while we could debate the reasons for that decrease, let’s just acknowledge that decrease exists and also acknowledge that unless the Holy Spirit moves in a super mighty way, directing individuals who just so happen to be driving up South Park Avenue at around 9:20am on a Sunday morning with the thought to drive right into our parking lot, perhaps a more likely on-ramp is for us to learn how to invite our friends, neighbors, or co-workers to worship with us.

I’ve only been half joking during my recent sermons about how easy it is for us to talk about the weather and so uncomfortable for us to talk about our faith or invite someone to worship with us.  I said, “half joking.”  So, give it a try.  Find someone in your circle of influence and try something that doesn’t come naturally to us by asking them to join you for worship and Holy Communion this Sunday morning.  In a lot of ways, much about the Christian faith doesn’t necessarily come naturally for us.  We need to slow down and learn these practices of prayer, devotion, worship, silence and service.  I highly doubt Jesus would advocate the motto, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Paul, Zacchaeus and Peter -to name a few- all learned new tricks after coming to know Jesus.  And if their lives aren’t testimony enough, consider the fact that at thirty-five, I can learn to “Floss,” or something close to it.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt