The (new) Favorites
One of my favorite movies is Clue, a 1985 comedy based along the lines of the board game of the same name. There is a Professor Plum played by Christopher Lloyd, Miss White played by Madeline Kahn and throughout the movie the Butler, Tim Curry, narrates and ushers the characters about trying to solve multiple murders with hijinks, lead pipes, candlesticks, and a few secret passages between rooms. The dialogue is quick and witty, the acting is over-the-top and hilarious, the story is fun and lighthearted despite being a murder mystery.
Would I say it should be everyone’s favorite? Probably not. Other generations may say Gone with the Wind or Godfather, or younger generations may say Love Actually or Avengers Endgame are their favorite. Every generation discovers, and is entitled to their own “favorites.” For every generation has different experiences and a different view of life.
When the first disciples were trying to form a community of Christ followers, they had to make decisions. Their previous way of worship, of living and of faith, was shaken to the very core. No doubt there were disciples who enjoyed the morning Jewish prayer service, the yearly Jewish festivals, the assurance of God’s promises through keeping the Jewish Law and Temple practices. These were the traditions they grew up with, they were favorites.
But when Jesus died and rose again, all those favorites were called into question. Everyone who accepted Jesus had to find new favorites. God had transformed them and forced upon them the opportunity to try something new. They suffered and toiled as well as rejoiced and celebrated in their fresh new expressions of faith as the community grew by the Holy Spirit.
How many times has God challenged us to experience a new way of worshiping? If you are like me, you prefer a trusted favorite over trying something new. But on occasion, there is good sense in trying something new. Trying a new restaurant, vacationing in a new city, having dinner with a new coworker or having a new friend from school sleep over. This is how we discover new favorites.
In the book of Acts and early Letters of Paul like Romans and Galatians, we see the early church trying multiple ways to follow Jesus. They all have different ideas of what make a good disciple, what favorite things make a church and not everything worked. But they pray new prayers, eat new foods, talk with new people and God blesses them. The Holy Spirit blessed their new favorites.
I have my favorite movies and favorite things about church, just as I am sure you have favorites too! But let us not get forget that since the first disciples, the Holy Spirit has continued to challenge the church to grow and serve the next generation of believers. There is a place for old favorites, but we can’t forget our call to experience something fresh. May the Holy Spirit bless our new favorites, too!