Opening Day — Pool Season 2015 …The Apostle Paul’s Rules for Pools

ab0261ca460d984f75d9a2aa7c88bf89Next to Christmas, today ushers in perhaps the second most joyous calendar day, especially for kids or kids at heart — our neighborhood swimming pool opens!

Swimming pools are Mecca when it comes to summer fun and building friendships. My boyhood memories are swimming with good times, my buddies and I biking to our neighborhood pool and splashing and diving until our skin shriveled like prunes. Life happened at the pool!

All kinds of people came to the pool. Old people and young people. Moms and dads and grandparents and kids. Cool people and nerdy people. People of different skin color and body shapes. Sunbathers and diving board fanatics.

Reflecting back, the swimming pool served as this wooing influence that welcomed all to come splash in her waters. Even more amazing, we took our clothes off (now not all of them) and became somewhat open and revealing to others.

Fast forward forty years from my childhood pool nostalgia, and generally, people are more guarded, more private — we close off our lives from others by our private pools, our high fences, and our lives lived inside the confines of our homes — AND OUR CHURCHES.

What would it look like for us to come outside again, leave the “safety” of our houses and church buildings, and again, re-engage with our neighbors at pools, and parties, and public gatherings?

It may surprise some, but the Apostle Paul’s modus operandi  was built on people and pool parties. He followed in the footsteps of his Rabbi Jesus who modeled what it was like to be “…the friend of tax collectors and sinners.” I wonder sometimes when we as the church become such prudes?

I like to envision Paul as having an enviable summer tan, having spent plenty of time (proximity) with those in his community (context) at the places they gathered, swimming pools, parks, and public places.

And to what end you ask? Why leave  the comfort and safety of our houses and our houses of worship? Paul shares his “rules for pools” in 1Corinthians 9:19-23

Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it! 

I hope to see you at the pool this summer! Jump in, the water is fine and the Gospel friendships you may be blessed to begin are even finer.

Be blessed (and tanned) in Jesus name!

Jim

PS – If you need a pastor’s note to take a Sunday off from church to be with the people in your neighborhood (get it, those not in church) I’ll be glad to oblige you!

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