St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525

 
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An Audience of One
Part 1 of 2 (see part 2) | January 15, 2012

This week the snow fell on Chicago. We knew we were overdue for a significant encounter. We knew it was coming and we would be in the front row as nature took the stage. My first sighting came from the window in my office as the snow began to paint the streets. There from my warm, cozy chair, I was in the audience for the beautiful premier of a winter scene. But for those who began to struggle with the drama in the streets, it wasn’t so pretty.

Two people can look at the same scene and see opposite things. Children can't wait to see snow; many adults wish it would never arrive. For one, there is the opportunity to play; for another, annoying traffic delays. It's not just snow. We could name a hundred things that bring about conflicting responses. The difference is in the eye of the beholder.

Even in Christian community our joys and past-times don't align; our tastes and piety are difficult to reconcile; our calling and passions are divinely arranged so differently. But there is a way that such diversity can meet fulfillment rather than disappointment. It is an epiphany I discovered recently with my daughter, Erica.

Erica and I had engaged in a faith conversation for several months. Both of us were having trouble accepting disappointment and change. Life wasn't going according to plan. Each of us was searching for a break in the struggle. As a performer, the stage became a part of the analogy of Erica's conversation. We found ourselves both on the stage and in the audience at the same time. And we were our toughest critics.

Along the journey, Erica had an epiphany that changed both of us. "I need to live," she said, "for an audience of One."

She wasn't talking about herself. We had tried that audience and it wasn't working. She was talking about Jesus. He knew us before we were born. It was with his blood that we were bought with a price. It was his call to surrender all, "to drop our nets" so to speak, and follow him that made us his disciples. Jesus is our audience of One.

It is in the dead of winter that we celebrate this season called, "Epiphany." It is a time of discovery, wonder and awe. It is a time to look at life and everything that has us trying to please our taskmasters with fresh eyes. It is a time to surrender our need for approval, acceptance and praise to the One who really deserves it all. And in true, shocking, epiphany-like fashion, he turns it all upside-down. He calls us to dance with him, to perform on his stage, to bless others with his gifts (not ours). He calls us to be his disciples and that means living for an audience of one.

When you live for an audience of One, you cannot lose. Even when there are losses and frustrations, even when you must change your plans or sacrifice your desires, you find so much more in Jesus. When you live for an audience of One, the two of you become one united in love, peace and joy, united in spirit and truth, united in purpose and ambition. When you live for an audience of One, it changes the way you live among your family, your coworkers, your community and even the person sitting next to you in the pew.

This epiphany season we’re going to meet Jesus as our audience of One. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to dismiss some of our former audiences so that we may put ourselves before the master. We’ll open the scriptures and our lives before the audience of One. If you’re like Erica and me (or even the first disciples who dropped their nets) it is a little intimidating, but once you take the step into that new audience a whole new world and life comes into view.

Many happy Epiphanies to you as we take this journey together!

 

 

(c)2012 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 www.sjlagrange.com
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

 
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