I’m a great fan of Paul Simon, and have been for the past 40 years. One of his most recent songs is “Wristband”. It’s about a performer (I like to think in a jazz club) who “stepped outside the backstage door, to breathe some nicotine, and maybe check my mailbox,” when the stage door slams shuts behind him. He has no option but to go around the front of the jazz club to get back in … but he doesn’t have a wristband. So he can’t. As the bouncer tells him: “If you don’t have a wristband, my man, You don’t get through the door.”
This used to sum up my view of God for many years of my life.
If you have a wristband, you’re in. If you don’t, you’re not. It’s that clear-cut. From my previous Evangelical standpoint, a “wristband” basically translated into “believing the right things.”
So Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists don’t stand a chance of getting in.
Anglicans, Episcopals, Methodists, Lutherans and Catholics won’t fare much better.
And if you’re gay or lesbian … you’re best not turning up.
But what if God is not like a bouncer in a nightclub, letting certain people in and keeping others out?
What if God is not on the door, but is actually IN the jazz club?
What if he is in the people, the music, the relationships, the chat, the laughter?
I have come to believe that God is the very essence of life, of existence, of the world around us, of the universe. Not simply the foundation, but the thing itself.
God is bigger than a jazz club bouncer with a list of names.
I believe that God welcomes everyone to the jazz club of life: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Protestant, Catholic, black, white, male, female, transgender, gay, lesbian, straight – it doesn’t matter.
And I think the God who became a person, and a poor, homeless, socially unacceptable person at that, would not be standing at the door with a frown on his face and a list in his hands.
He’d be inside, welcoming you to enjoy the jazz experience.