overhead projectors make Jesus smile

Written by Amy L. Sullivan

SERVE Editor Word lover. Book devourer. Music addict. Amy is a Northern girl who found herself living in the South. She drinks sweet tea, turns her nose up at okra, and attempts to tell her daughters "yella" isn't a color.

July 25, 2013

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We’ve been attending a tiny church in a local trailer park.

It’s one of those classic situations where you think you are there to serve others, and you walk away feeling served to by them.

There aren’t greeters or ushers or enough chairs. When it’s time to gather the offering, wicker baskets are handed to random, front row dwellers.

Before the service begins, someone turns on an old overhead projector which sits on the floor, and blurry typed-out words appear on the wall. The whole church sings, and I’m pretty sure our singing sounds terrible. Then, the outreach director/children’s ministry coordinator/worship leader (how does one person do so much?) takes the kids into an adjoining room.

The singing is over, and the overhead projector clicks off. A tiny internal fan continues to hum, and for some reason, I think that old overhead projector makes Jesus smile.

Why?

Maybe it’s because the goal of overhead projectors is to help everyone see. To make the words accessible to all: the single mom and her newborn baby, the tweens who show up because they heard about free slushies, the quiet boy with blue-green eyes, the grandma who brought a dish to pass, and those young kids who walk in without parents.

Maybe it’s because the projector is a symbol of simpler days. When people just needed the words to sing, days before all the pizzazz.

Maybe I think the old projector makes Jesus smile because if He looked down, He would see people from all kinds of places leaning in and leaning together to catch a glimpse of Him. 

Your turn. Tell me what odd objects you think make Jesus smile.

Image credit.

20 Comments

  1. kendalprivette

    there are 1.3 million things i love about this piece, amy. number one? your point about simplicity. i’m so there right now. and brown sugar makes me think of jesus sometimes.

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Thanks, Kendal. There are only 1.3 billion things I love about you! Yes, simplicity has been really on my mind lately. . .probably because I need more of it.

      Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Oh, and ps brown sugar?!? I can totally see that.

      Reply
  2. 1lori_1

    Oh Amy…..somehow my heart aches for these old days, before spotlights and fake smoke and fancy backgrounds during praise……Yes, I do believe overhead projectors can make Jesus smile. I loved this post, really loved it. Lori

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Lori, if I’m honest, I will say most days my heart longs for the days of way back when (although, don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for some good lighting and a rocking band!). Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

      Reply
  3. Diane Bailey

    It’s funny that you are going retro in this blog today, I blogged about clothes-line, with linens drying in the breeze and equated it to prayer. If I could talk my husband into it, I would have a clothes-line in my yard today, watching the sheet gently sway in the breeze, and singing to Jesus, as I use to do, while hanging laundry. I think that makes Him smile.

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Diane,
      I KNOW that makes him smile. Do you know it’s my dream to have a clothes-line? Our yard is very hilly so I’m not sure how that will work, but yep, one day!

      Reply
  4. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Oh, Amy, THIS made me smile. Yessiree.
    What else do I think of that makes Jesus smile? My husband and I go once a month with our Jamaican pastor/friend to a nursing home and I get to lead the singing–a piano, my voice and his tambourine….It’s not all that odd, but I think it’s the tambourine that makes Jesus smile–just like Miriam played.

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Brown sugar, a clothes-line, and now a tambourine. I love it, and I know He smiles at this. Truthfully, I think He smiles at anything that makes us think of him. Thanks for reading and taking the time to share about you Jody.

      Reply
  5. Lisa Van Engen

    Overhead projector… kind of perfect. We go to a church like this. It’s just Jesus and his broken people. Which is really simple and I think God likes simple.

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Lisa,
      Oh, I would love to take a peek at your church!

      Reply
  6. Eddy Damas

    I think what makes Jesus really smile is the unity within His body!

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Eddy,
      Good point. I agree. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Reply
  7. Mindy Whipple

    What makes Jesus smile? People like you sharing His love Ms. Amy! I don’t think he is impressed with all the pizzazz either. Life is complicated at best so I long after the simple…

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Thank you, Mindy. I’ve only recently identified pizzazz bothering me. . .not in church so much, but just in life. It’s crazy the great lengths we go to to make everything better when it starts out so good! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  8. Loraine Erickson

    Wow, this was beautiful. Simple and sincere and resonates with anyone who has been around the church for a while.

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Thanks for reading, Loraine. I appreciate you!

      Reply
  9. Lori McClure

    You know I know all about overhead projectors. Were my early church days a part of your inspiration here, lol? We weren’t in a trailer, but we sure had the small numbers in a shady part of town going on – along with the overhead projector, of course 🙂 Really good piece, A!

    Reply
    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Lor,
      Ha! I don’t remember any of your old churches. . .isn’t that funny? Wait, wait. Yes, I do. The one on the East side. I remember that one.

      Reply
  10. Jeffrey

    I also long for simpler times. I love modern praise songs as much as anyone, but there is something rock solid when we open a hymn book and sing the rich, old time language of the classic hymnals.

    Reply

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overhead projectors make Jesus smile

by Amy L. Sullivan time to read: 1 min
20