My grandchildren are crazy about bubbles. They like to play with anything that involves bubbles. They like blowing bubbles, bubble bath and bubble wrap. They blow bubbles and chase bubbles and watch bubbles ascend toward heaven. It fascinates them and they run around and laugh and scream like a bunch of crazy people. In addition to that, the younger ones like bubble bath and the older ones like to pop bubble wrap. This makes me want to bust out singing the 1960s song Tiny Bubbles by Don Ho. Well, scratch that. I can’t sing and you probably wouldn’t like the song anyway.
Speaking of crazy people, I’ve noticed folk around these parts like bubble church. Instead of a bunch of tiny bubbles, they like their church to be one big bubble. The bubble church is popular because it offers a safe space to practice religion without anyone making fun of them or causing them to feel uncomfortable. You know. It provides them a sense of safety. The bubble is filled with people they know, songs they love to sing and a preacher who tickles their ears. As it goes, some preachers blow smoke from time to time, but this kind of preacher blows bubbles. That is, bubbles full of empty words and dreams. It makes you feel good but there is no lasting impact.
The problem with the bubble church is that you come with little and you go home with less. It’s like taking your children or grandchildren to Chuck E Cheese. You come with a little money and you go home broke. At the end of the day, you wonder why you would ever spend money on cardboard pizza and expensive games that spew out tickets that cash in for paraffin wax lips. Oh how exciting and fulfilling. Right? And, just to top things off, you find the wax lips ground into your back seat after you unload all the kids at the house.
In case you’re wondering, bubble people who attend the bubble church only worship at the bubble church. I just knew you’d be wondering so I thought I’d explain. I guess they’re worried that someone might pop them if they say something about Jesus at work, school or around the neighborhood. After all, we shop at Wal-Mart, study at school, play in the gymnasium and go to the movies at the theater. So, it stands to reason, that bubble people only worship at the bubble church.
If you’re confused, the church isn’t designed to insulate you. It may be safe, friendly and offer comfort, but that’s not the purpose of church. Do you shop for your groceries at Lowe’s? Of course not. Why? Lowe’s doesn’t exist to sell groceries. In the same way, the church doesn’t exist simply for comfort and a sense of safety. Those things are all good in their rightful place. Of course, a good local church offers love and fellowship but that’s only the beginning. It gathers for accountability, training and worship. The ultimate goal is to send you into a cold and dark world as a light.
Maybe it’s time for you to burst your notion of a bubble church. And, for that matter, the characteristics of bubble people don’t suite you. If you need help, I’ll put you in touch with my grandchildren. As you might remember, they love to chase and bust bubbles. They will track you down and dig those little fingers in you and pop you like you were bubble wrap. And then what? Maybe you can actually live the Christian lifestyle everywhere you go and be the light of the world.
MT 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
It may be entertaining for children to play with bubbles. They may even like to bathe in bubbles and pop bubbles. However, the idea of bubble people who worship in bubble churches must be popped. I mean stopped. Instead, it’s time for us who claim to be disciples, followers of Christ, to deny ourselves and lay down our lives for Jesus that all people groups of the world might hear and believe the gospel.
RO 10:14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.