Sitting here on a rainy Sunday afternoon, while most of the family has left to see Harry Potter in 3-d. I'm not that big an HP fan, and the Seahawks are in the midst of a close game - plus I've two more worship services this evening, so I'm at home alone with the Hawks and my thoughts. What thoughts?
1. I'm thinking that, in spite of myself, just by showing up with people week after week, I've been a part of a community of faith now for nearly twelve years. This Sunday, more than any that's gone before, I'm filled with gratitude for that privilege. This morning we grieved as a community (see previous post: Becker), even while many of us shared stories of fond memories for this dear friend, along with gratitude that his suffering is now ended and he is whole. Before, between, and after these services, there were hugs, conversations, remembrances, all of which were precious to me - but precious because they were interactions forged out from the years. I've always viewed myself as comfortable with flitting, like a hummingbird, around the world, teaching and sharing with people, and being fully present with them in the moment. And I still enjoy that - even this past Friday, Donna and I were hiking and came upon 5 lovely women with whom we shared great conversation, which resulted in an invitation to Prague (see picture). I love meeting new people. But there's something incredible, profound, sustaining, about being deeply rooted in a community of relationships - through thick and thin, through births and deaths, through marriages and cancer, through life changes and changes in the church as it grows and faces challenges - what a treasure to be in community in continuity!
2. I'm also pondering this afternoon, as the Seahawks are trying hard to win while I type: Are other religions as honest in their scriptures? I'm not enough of a student of comparative religion to know. But over the past few days, as my own emotions have ranged from grief, to confusion, to anger, to rejoicing and celebrating fond remembrances, to praising God, and back to grief again, I'm asking the question: do other faiths have space for this the way Christianity and Judaism do? Consider Abraham's doubts, Jacob's wrestling with God, Job's faith and anger, Jeremiah's lamentations and despondency, David's Psalms, John the Baptist's question of Jesus: "Are you the One or should we wait for another?". The Bible is full of honest doubt and wrestling. I love that, and find that somehow, I'm more persuaded of the truth of it all precisely because of the honesty of it all. What's more, having been given permission to grieve and wrestle by those who've gone before, I have no problem laying it all out and being honest with God.
Friday was perfect - Donna and I had already planned a hike for that day - and we walked, read, laughed, cried, grieved, prayed, remembered our friend Scott, and spoke of this season of life that is at the same time filled with joy, challenge, beauty, loss, and anticipation.