I used the Philippians 2 scripture as my text - Paul's encouragement to "Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life..." Everyone latched on to the idea, because it addresses our imperative to live with a certain luminosity... rather than smashing people over the head with judgement, using the Bible as a blunt bludgeoning instrument when - instead - we could simply live like we mean it.
We talked about being people of meaningful faith, going about our lives as if there is a bold, proud exclamation point at the end of every phrase, paragraph and page; living faith with convincing emphasis.
My friend Lee pointed out in church last week that a lot of us are quite uncomfortable with the exclamation point. He was leading the responsive call to worship and paused to ask the congregation to take a look at the punctuation at the end of the final response:
"I'd like to introduce you to the exclamation point," he said. "Presbyterians are quite familiar with periods, we don't mind the occasional comma, and we're very partial to the semi-colon... But, the exclamation point seems to make us a little uncomfortable."
Then he asked the church to practice the response in question before - formally - leading us into worship. People responded with enthusiasm! The place rocked!
That's a good word for those of us committed to being pilgrims in progress - always thinking about how we might live lives of faithful discipleship with more emphasis and more authentic life - DEREK