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I’ve been playing in church for a long time, mostly with children, sometimes with adults. I learned a new game, “God’s Musical Chairs,” from Jeff Doucette, pastor at Enniskillen & Tyrone United Church in Bowmanville, Ontario. We are members of an online international church called CASA. God’s Musical Chairs sets up a circle of chairs looking a lot like the mean-spirited game of my youth where I felt desperately left out and occasionally sat hard on the floor with my skirt embarrassingly hiked up.
Whom should we ask to sit in this chair? Who needs a place?
Years - Fields - Hope - Justice - Guest
After forty years playing, dancing (and trudging) in the fields of hope and justice, I am retired. I am a guest preacher almost every week (the word “supply” always makes me feel like a toilet paper roll) and so this spring I have played this game in a large number of churches. By the fourth added chair, every time, every sanctuary, one of the young people responds to, “Who needs a place?” with “Immigrants.” After “immigrants” in June, Pride month, I heard “trans people.” Once I heard “homeless people.” Also, once, well … “my dog.”
It’s a pastoral calling to invite children to the justice table. The invitation lodges deepest in the heart when they speak the realization themselves. I’ve been known to pass an inflated globe and a basket of band aids so they can name a hurt in the world and bandage it. I’ve hosted God’s picnic by handing out paper plates and plastic ware with the forks (f) labeled friends and family and the spoons (s) labeled strangers. I’ve passed out squares of aluminum foil which look not unlike the blankets covering children along our southern border, and asked whether that would be a comfortable blanket. Those are more directive small quick ways...
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