There’s a game in improv called “Challenge.” The way it works is that the host gets a subject, for this example let’s say “The Zoo,” and then four players compete to be the last one talking when time runs out. That is, the host points at a player to begin, and that player starts. “One time I was at the zoo and it was raining, and we ran under an awning…” “Challenge!” one player might cry, “There are no awnings at the zoo in question,” or whatever. If the challenge is valid, even if it is out of left field, the challenger gets to deliver his or her own monologue; if it is invalid, at the discretion of the host, the former player gets to continue.
Obviously, some things can be easily challenged, “Challenge! You would not break into a car when you were eight!” and some things are more of a stretch, “Challenge! You do not put tomato in a fruit salad, and tomato is a fruit—that player is lying about comprehensive fruit salad!” But all in all, it seems everything can, in fact, be challenged.
The game never really stuck with the four groups I worked with. The challenge of being challenged was perhaps too challenging?
This week in worship, we’ll be looking at the challenge of finding joy. Joy is not blunt optimism, nor is it rose-colored blinders to what is happening in the world. Joy is, though, the challenge to see God at work and the Reign being built, in even the smallest possible ways. I don’t want to spoil anything for Sunday, but I will say this: God is invisible, but not unseeable. God is intangible, as it were, but still present. God is working, though at times, it seems there’s not much light in the darkness.
I do like the Sunday of Joy, which we’re calling Challenge this year. I look forward to seeing you all then. The pink candle is for Joy!