One of my new friends at my church (I moved here in June) is a kid named Jackson who’s about 5 years old-ish. He’s a character (as we say in Texas)–full of personality, engaging, smart, funny. One of the things I enjoy about Jackson is the way he thinks and talks about his experiences of church life. We get so used to how things work, that we lose track of how many unspoken understandings and assumptions govern how we engage and interact with our gathered time of worship, for example. So, with appreciation to my buddy Jackson, here are a couple of things that he has brought to light about our unspoken (sometimes even unknown) assumptions:
1. Recently Jackson has been talking about the cross being Jesus’ logo. An odd way of describing the cross, and yet his defense is pretty good. He said that a logo is something that makes you think of something else and that it’s supposed to get your mind on the other thing. The cross always reminds us of Jesus and our salvation, therefore, the cross is Jesus’ logo. Wouldn’t have come up with that myself, but I like Jackson’s point.
2. A week ago, Jackson’s mom was shaking my hand at the back of the sanctuary and told me that he had remarked to her on the way back to their seats from receiving Holy Communion, “Oh, I see we’re tipping today.” Don’t know if they’re all this way, but all of the United Methodist Churches I’ve been a part of have a practice of leaving a special offering on the communion rail after receiving the bread and cup that goes towards mission and outreach-related ministries. So, seeing the money sitting on the rail, Jackson perceptively said, “I see we’re tipping today.” Ok, yes…a little something like that. After all Wesley preached and lived a commitment to much more than tithing (or giving 10% of one’s income to the work of God through the church). Tipping is a way to say extra thanks for something well done. We come to Communion with thankfulness and it is certainly appropriate to say an extra word of thanks by offering our gifts on the altar. Now that I stop to think about, I need to plan on “tipping” God more often and better!