But what does this all mean? I think the rugged epic beard can represent many things. For those blessed with the right genes (and apparently not me) the beard is something that grows naturally and freely if you let it. There it hangs on to the face in its glorious manner as it vies for the attention of passersby. When the wind blows at it, the beard moves but it never flies off because it's attached to the face. It loves the face. The face is its home.
FreeChurch sort of takes on some of these characteristics. One of the things that stood out to me when I first visited FT was how freely everyone was when singing praises to God. People were welcomed to belt out as loud as they could, wave their arms in the air (like they just don't care), and like the epic beard, allowed to move around freely without any restraint. But it's not like people were punching each other out in worship of God, just as the beard doesn't punch the chin of its owner; the beard respects the face just as the worshipper respects his brother and sister.
FT is located in the heart of downtown Toronto and when the weather's right, the doors are flung wide open as we worship God. Much like the epic beard, we hope that we can catch the attention of those passersby, not from the glory of ourselves but rather from the glory of God.
Let's face it, we're all sinners; we've all fallen short. Sometimes we do the things that we know aren't right. We are weak, but it is okay, for He is strong and provides a solid way. Even the beard understands this. The wind might blow at it sometimes, tempting it to move in one direction or the other, but the hairs on the beard are smart, knowing that its foundation lies on the face where it won't let it just fly off.
Lastly, growth. Just as the beard yearns to grow everyday, so does the church at large. The more its allowed to grow, the more epic the beard will get. When I refer to growth in a church, I don't necessarily mean growth by numbers. Sometimes numbers are just numbers, they're only a statistic. More importantly, the growth that we can experience within ourselves is what can make the church epic. Be a bit more loving, a bit more joyful. Be a bit more peaceful and patient. Be kind and good, faithful and gentle. Experience that self-control.
Much like the unruly beard, this post sort of took a life of its own. But it makes me wonder what kind of a beard Jesus had. Later geeks.