“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Tony Myles shared with our staff on Tuesday this quote from Jesus found in Luke 9. It was in response to a follower who declared to Jesus that he would follow him anywhere. I have made similar promises to Jesus in my most faith-filled moments. I have followed Jesus’ call to St Louis, into the city, into the adoption process, into conflict and into exile from the “American Dream”. My heart often longs to lay down and rest, to be at a place where I can settle down and be at home. We have found a home here, and we love our church and community. But, Jesus seems to be saying that discipleship in his kingdom includes a call into nomadic wondering, a kind of unstable and unpredictable place of dependence on the provision of the Father. Abraham knew that kind of faith. So did Moses, Joshua, and even David who spent most of his life as a political refugee.
In crafting worship music, we can often reach a good solid place to lay down and sit a while. We can find a set of songs, a style, or a philosophical method that feels good, makes sense, and gives us a communal anthology of symbols and texts that gives our people a place to be themselves. This is a good feeling, but the call of the kingdom is to resist the urge to create a permanent home. We have to pick up stakes and move on to the next place that the Spirit of God, a pillar of fire in the wilderness, leads us. In cross-cultural ministry, this gets played out over and over as communities change, generations pass away, and culture get’s messy.
Why can’t we just pick one style and stick with it? Why can’t we just build up a team of volunteers (or pros) who know what to do, and then we can just relax and do church in a simple, predictable, fashion? The call of Jesus into his kingdom asks us to trust in the provision of the Lord in the wilderness. He will be the bread of heaven for us when we are completely depleted of our resources. It forces us to be still before the Lord and allow him to fight the battle.