March makes many mad: it’s springtime in Nashville, and love-crazy birds are fighting over mating rights and nesting sites.
Then there’s NCAA basketball. “Confident Purdue Ready For Florida” CBS News headlined on Sunday, just about the time we left church, and before the day was over, it was Florida 74, Purdue 67. Vanderbilt? Vanderbilt! And UT, and Memphis, and if I didn’t mention your team (Go Kansas! Sorry to see you go, Winthrop), consider it part of the madness.
And the church: The place is humming with activity. CROP walkers raising money for Church World Service’s ministries that battle hunger and poverty (CROP Walk, April 1); kids in capes practicing their lines for the musical (Extra! Extra! Good News for the Daily Planet, April 1); the chancel choir inhaling additional singers for a glorious Easter sound; and on top of it all Vine Street’s very own variety of 3M, the mother of all things mad and March – March Ministry Madness! Piles of people together in one room, sitting at round tables, eating and talking, dreaming and planning, developing ministry ideas, creating groups and teams and task forces. And there will be booths, I’ve heard, mostly magnificent ministry booths: membership, music, (there will be an official, anecdotal, statistically challenged, yet ultimate Men’s Group survey; can you think of more ministries that start with an M? Send me your ideas – the winner will get a bag of M&M’s and a pair of free tickets to next year’s Souper Bowl. ), community ministry, education, communication, worship…
We called the event March Ministry Madness, playing, of course, with basketball’s March Madness, but the sad fact is that high-energy activitiy can easily turn into uncentering busyness. Japanese Theologian, Kosuke Koyama writes about our three-miles-an-hour God, a God who moves at a human walking pace. And this is where the madness turns, slowly but deliberately, into a Good Friday meditation.
“Jesus Christ came. He walked towards the ‘full stop’. He lost his mobility. He was nailed down! He is not even at three miles an hour as we walk. He is not moving. ‘Full stop’! What can be slower than ‘full stop’—‘nailed down’? At this point of ‘full stop’, the apostolic church proclaims that the love of God to man [sic] is ultimately and fully revealed. God walks ‘slowly’ because [God] is love. If [God] is not love [God] would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is ‘slow’ yet it is lord over all other speeds since it is the speed of love.”
Kosuke Koyama, Three Mile an Hour God: Biblical Reflections (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1980), p. 7
I want to move at the speed of love, and I believe that, during March Ministry Madness, love will dance.