The Silly Bandz Post

24 05 2010

This is the story of my Silly Bandz…and about how God works in mysterious, and sometimes downright weird, ways.

If you do not know what a Silly Band is, I feel so sorry for you: either you have been living under a rock lately, or you are a grown-up who lives in the real world.  In either case, I will try to enlighten you: Silly Bandz are the newest craze in fashion.  They are silicone rubber bands that have been molded into various shapes: dollar signs, toucans, magic wands, guitars, etc.  Kids wear them as bracelets, use them as rubber bands, show them off, trade them, etc.  You can buy them at Wal-Mart, dollar stores, online…

My encounter with Silly Bandz began a few weeks ago.  One of my youth counselors had bought the “Holy” set of bandz, and she presented me with two of my very own: a cross and a dove.  I have to admit, my first reaction was one of annoyance: this was yet another example of a cultural fad being co-opted by the Christian-consumerism machine.

But then I wore them around for a few weeks.  And I found that these two little pieces of silicone were the best conversation-starters I could have ever dreamed up.  Every time I met a new middle schooler (at church or outside of church), our conversation began in one of two ways:  1. “Oh, you have Silly Bandz too!” or 2. “Which Silly Bandz do you have?  Look, I’ve got these…”

Yesterday, I taught our high school Sunday School class.  In celebration of Pentecost Sunday, our lesson focused on the Holy Spirit.  However, the five high schoolers who showed up were less than enthused about being awake at 9:30 a.m., much less about having to talk and think about God.  After several minutes of crickets chirping, I took off my orange Silly Band and decided to try something new.

“Look,” I said.  “This Silly band represents the Holy Spirit, for me.  It’s shaped like a dove, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  But it’s also orange, and it kind of looks like a tongue of fire.  Fire’s another symbol of the Holy Spirit.  I also think it kind of looks like a hat, although I’m not sure how that relates…no wait, yes I do!” (I was getting more excited by the second)  “On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire on the heads of the apostles, so it was like they were wearing a hat of the Holy Spirit!”

My students were smiling now.  Probably they were making fun of my dorkiness, but I like to believe I had given them an image to remember. “What’s your other Silly Band?” asked one of the girls.

I showed them the yellow cross. “Obviously this one represents Jesus.  So it seems I’m just missing one that will be a symbol of God the Father, so if any of you have a Silly Band that might complete my trinity, let me know.”

Believe it or not, that actually led into a mildly interesting discussion about the nature of the Trinity.  (“Is it really one God if there are three different forms?”)  And our Sunday School lesson carried on.

This afternoon, I taught violin lessons up at the Noel Community Arts Program.  Alice, one of my six-year-old students, was wearing about 15 Silly Bandz on one arm.  The first thing she said as she entered her lesson was, “Do you really only have two Silly Bandz?”

She felt sorry for me, apparently, and asked her mom if she could give me one of hers.  Her mom said yes, and so she began the process of picking one to give away.  In the end, she gave me a Silly Band from her “Princess” set; I suspect she chose it because it was gray, and thus the least interesting band on her arm.  Nonetheless, when she handed it to me, I could hardly believe my eyes:

Unwittingly, she had picked the perfect symbol to complete my Trinity.  My mind started racing through the stories of the Bible: from YHWH’s role as the “first king” of Israel, through that wonderful phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come.”  The entire story of our faith, it seems, can be summed up by three colorful silicone bands.  (And two of them glow in the dark!  That’s a whole other good piece of symbolism, for some other day)

I suppose I'm wearing my theology on my wrist now!

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wrinkles

20 07 2009

I’ll try to keep these silly posts to a minimum (I promise you, I can make a spiritual analogy out of anything), but I thought this was a good one to share:

We were running late for church yesterday.  And as we were walking up the steps to the sanctuary, I was making all of those last-minute adjustments: patting down my hair, making sure my shoes are on the right feet, that my clothes are on right-side-out, etc.  I looked down and noticed a wrinkle in my shirt but told Jordan, “Oh well, I think this shirt is probably representative of my faith anyway.  It’s probably fitting that I’m wearing it to church.”

Although he made fun of me at the time, I got to thinking about it and thought that my description was actually pretty apt.  After all, the Bible is more concerned about clothing than you might think:

“I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness…”

– Isaiah 61:10

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

– Colossians 3:12-14

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

– Ephesians 6:13-17

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have wrinkles in my robe of righteousness! As well as in my compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, and patience …

Perhaps it is indeed better to come before God just as I am … wrinkles and all!