Thursday, August 02, 2007

Screaming for Ice Cream

Up until this past year, it's been several years since I've seen the ice cream truck roll through a neighborhood. As a child, I can remember seeing the ice cream truck come by 3 or 4 times during the summer months but that was about it. Well, in our neighborhood, you might see the ice cream truck come by 3 or 4 times in a day. No kidding! I've counted 4 different ice cream vendors that drive their beat-up little vans playing the kind of music that will literally make you go stir crazy if you aren't able to tune it out. And it doesn't matter how much ice cream we have in our freezer, our kids always want ice cream from the ice cream man. After all, we don't have the Dora Fudge Pop or the Spongebob something or another in our freezer. In fact, the ice cream business in our neighborhood seems so lucrative that I joke with my wife Cara that we should turn our mini-van into an ice cream van. All it would take is some crazy music and a cooler full of ice cream in the back. Oh, and I guess we'd need to get those stickers to put all over our van to show the public exactly what we're selling. It could be done.

Anyway, back to what I was getting at. Just the other day, I saw something I hadn't seen all summer long. I saw the ice cream truck drive slowly by without one key component of their business - the music. Yes, that's right. The ice cream truck drove by but it didn't have the maddening and yet necessary music to go along with it. After all, the music (if you can call it that) is what attracts all of the kids and brings them streaming out their front doors like lemmings off a cliff. If it wasn't for the music, most people would never know the ice cream man was around.

As I sat pondering this, I knew that there was something profoundly theological about what I had just seen, but I wasn't sure what it was initially. However, as I've thought about it, my recent reading of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount comes to mind. Jesus tells us to be the salt of the earth and then he tells us to be the light for all the world to see. If we have something that we know that everyone should have, why would we keep this light hidden. Like the ice cream truck without the music, I think way too many churches today exist in an equally unattractive way. We don't let our lights shine. We don't make ourselves attractive enough so that all the world will take notice. We judge others when we have no basis of doing so. If the church wants to reach the least, last, and lost of this world, it has to offer the world something the world cannot find anywhere else. And we have that something in the gracious provision of our heavenly Saviour Jesus Christ. So start screaming!