On Saturday afternoon I will be doing a quick (15 mins) Magic Show at Stanway Spring Fayre.* I have been working on a couple of routines for the show, which will be for all ages (so no sawing people in half, chopping off hands, or putting skewers through my thumb). One is a routine that I have done before but which I have re-worked and is now being further refined. The other is a new routine that I have been working on and this Saturday will be my first opportunity to present it to an audience.
I feel a lot more confident about the first routine than the second. That is not because either is more complex than the other. It is because the first one is one that I have had more time to rehearse and I have also had the chance to perform before my friends at the Mid Essex Magical Society** and receive positive feedback (see this bloggage). That has given me confidence that I can do the trick and that it will go down well. The second is a step into the unknown. I know I can do it, but I have never done it before under public scrutiny and I don’t know how it will be received.
Except for a few ultra-confident extroverts I imagine most of us are much more comfortable with what is familiar to us. We like staying in our comfort zone. We are happiest when we feel most relaxed.
Sadly Jesus does not call his followers to a comfortable life. He invites us to follow him and that can often take us into unfamiliar places and doing new things. I am in the middle of preparing for Sunday morning at our church and looking at Luke 9:1-17, where Jesus sent his 12 friends so far out of their comfort zones that the cz was just a speck on the horizon. He sent them on a mission trip and told them not to take any supplies. Then later he told them to do the catering for an impromptu party – for 5,000+ people!
We may not be asked to do those things today, but we are still invited to “take up your cross… and follow me”, which is definitely a step into the unknown. Crosses are not known for their comfort and Jesus had a habit of going into uncomfortable situations.
This is not an encouragement for us not to prepare. I am much happier when I am prepared. But we need to be prepared for the unexpected, the unusual, the uncomfortable. How? Well ‘following’ is easier when you are in earshot of the person you are following rather than them being a long way ahead of you. The twelve disciples had spent time being in earshot of Jesus: watching, listening and participating.
Be blessed, be a blessing.
“Our Minister’s sermons always have a happy ending. When he ends we are happy.”
*2-4pm in Stanway Village Hall if you’re interested.
** Available to come and perform at very reasonable rates at your fundraising event in the Essex area. See their website for more information.