By Margaret Neblock

There are children poised on the catwalk. Giggles bounce around the space as they await the signal to unleash the surprise charged to them by the metaphor team. “‘Let’s celebrate’ is the code phrase”, I tell them. They just grin and give each other knowing looks.

I say a silent prayer and head back down the spiral staircase to the stage for a last minute check on the items the metaphor team had set up to illustrate the theme for Dan’s sermon about vision.

We’ve been on an oversized, over-the-top kick it seems. Three enormous pairs of glasses rest in front of stuffed black garbage bag “heads” to the left of the altar; extravagant hats of outrageous proportion perch on the pseudo-skulls. Streamers in prismatic multitude rustle overhead.

Dawn, Barb, Dick, and I have been planning and constructing these props all week for two reasons. Firstly, the giant spectacles serve as a literal visual reminder of the sermon theme. Glasses are one of the primary things people think of when vision is mentioned.

Second, it is Living Water’s birthday! We want to celebrate our community and all that God has provided to it. Thus, silly hats and streamers are necessary.

We want to celebrate our community and all that God has provided to it.

As Dan pronounces the benediction, I take out my cell phone and move into position stage left; this needs to be documented. I grin mischievously and think, “No one here has any idea what’s about to happen!” As I hit record, the magic words are spoken with gusto, “Let’s celebrate!”

On cue, our juvenile partners in crime let loose the surprise from the confines of four giant bags. Fifty balloons float down as the band plays; people dance and sing. This is connecting in worship.

This is what the metaphor team does at Living Water. What started out as simply arranging flowers near the cross has developed into something completely unexpected. Sometimes the visuals are elaborate and massive in scale. Other sermons require a quiet stage arrangement. But why?

This is connecting in worship.

Why do we dream, plan, envision, construct, retool, rethink, set up, and tear down? The team would say they enjoy creating an image, the challenge of brainstorming, and camaraderie we have developed. I was reminded last week of another reason: 1 Peter 4:10 – “God has given you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.”

My translation: we are responsible (and dare I say expected) to use the gifts God has given us to benefit others. We offer our skills to create something that gives the congregation another tool to engage with God and His word. And so, an artist, brainstormer, construction guru, and drama director join forces to participate, connect, and reach up.

Calling all catwalk climbers, idea dreamers, and interested parties! We would love you to join us! If you would like to learn more about metaphor creation and implementation, please contact Margaret Neblock or 419-215-3158