One of the favorite stories I read to my children when they were little was, Mushroom in the Rain, by Mirra Ginsburg. The story is about an ant that is getting soaked in the rain one day and crawls under a tiny mushroom for cover. Whew! So nice to be dry again. Not long afterward a drenched butterfly flies down to the ground and asks the ant if there is room under the mushroom for her too. The ant moves over and makes room. Then a mouse sneak up and asks for cover. They squish together and the mouse joins them under the mushroom. Soon a sparrow and a rabbit join the small team under the mushroom. A fox comes by looking for the rabbit, but the other creatures hide the rabbit from harm and the fox saunters away. Finally the rain stops and everyone leaves happily to go about their business. Everyone, that is, except the ant who looks at the enormous mushroom that has covered all those creatures. It turns out, that mushrooms grow in the rain!
I think of that story because I like the idea of a big tent that is willing to grow bigger to accommodate more people who need it’s homey protection. I think the church should be like that. I think most church want to be like that. We want to make our tent bigger so that anyone and everyone can come inside and know the love of God that we experience in the church. It is Jesus who has inspired us. Jesus welcomed all sort of people who were considered unacceptable people in his time and place. The early church went on to expand the tent even further welcoming Gentiles and people of strange ethnicities. Sometimes it was hard to stretch enough to make room for everyone, but they did.
We need to be like a mushroom in the rain. We need to grow bigger when God rains down his love on us so we can shelter and protect the many.
p.s. If you want to listen to the children’s story, here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9F_JcFpou0
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