Every once in a while someone will call me ‘Johnny one-note.’ I’ll bet you didn’t know that. The conversation goes something like this:
“Hey, you preached on the simple Jesus thing again this week.”
“By my count that’s six times in the last six months.”
“You’re beginning to sound like Johnny One-Note.”
For those of you who don’t know who or what Johnny One Note was he came from a Rogers and Hart musical in 1937 sung by Judy Garland. The words are “Johnny could only sing one note
And the note he sang was Ahh …”
The parishioner calling me Johnny One Note wasn’t complimenting me, of course, and he would probably not be happy to know I consider it one of the greatest compliment ever. Because the whole Gospel message is about ‘one note.’ And that note is love and the simple Way of Jesus that leads us to love.
When it comes to churches, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about simplicity. Our place is simple. We have three buildings all pretty much up to speed in maintenance. We have a small budget and enough money to pay our bills. We have three very part time staff people. And we are lay-led so we avoid a lot of the church politics that churches with more moving parts have to deal with. And those lay leaders take their jobs seriously and are really good at what they do.
I can tell you as part of the ‘clergy’ of Loudoun I get to see lots of messages back and forth from pastors, rabbis and imams concerning church finances, staff people laid off and concerns about the future. Some of these are heart wrenching because as I read them I see that they are seriously in trouble. Nobody is getting ready to close just yet, but if something doesn’t happen soon, they are going to be very tenuous at best.
We pray for our fellow faith leaders, communities and members. We pray that this will all end sometime soon so we can get back to normal and begin to see our pews filled again.
And lest I sound like Pollyanna as well as Johnny One Note, we pray for our little community of Christ Church too. For the community, for the individual in the community for those we serve. We may be small but we have the same kind of challenges other faith communities have. We too need prayer.
But in this prayer let us also give thanks. Let’s give thanks that we are small and simple as a faith community and we like it that way. Without minimizing the importance of all the issues other churches are facing, we give thanks that our simplicity shields us from some of those issues. We have all we need, don’t seek to have much more and we are comfortable in our smallness and simplicity.
Johnny One Note would be proud of us…
peace and all good,