The day-to-day reality of participating in church could give you emotional and cognitive whiplash, if you let it.
Like this morning: we spent an hour or so talking about the kind of deep theological topics that people debate in seminary and in theology texts – justification by faith, redemption, atonement, grace, which faith is it, the perfect faith of Jesus Christ that is effective for us, or the faith we have by grace in Jesus Christ, or maybe it’s both at once …
And then we had worship with a sermon that focused on the way Jesus is so attentive and aware, he meets the disciples’ needs – their physical ones, for breakfast on the beach, and their emotional ones, for some ordinary stability after all they’ve been through, and Peter’s particular need to confess his love for Jesus, after all that denial, and for the purpose and clarity of a task to do to demonstrate that love.
Plus communion. With the tasty, non-crumbly kind of bread. This did not go unnoticed. Or uncommented on.
And then coffee. With leftovers from the Salad Luncheon on Friday, so – tasty, and not even that much work for “the fellowship person” of the day.
And then Sunday school and admiring the way our 4-year-old student put together the squishy purple spring mushroom-house with colorful turtle and snail sticker inhabitants. (“That was cool!”) [It could represent spring and new life and resurrection. But let’s be honest, it’s mainly about having a good time with people who care about you.]
And then doing playdoh and having our 4-year-old student suddenly take that round pot sort of thing with a flat lid and turn it on its side and say: “This is that … with the stone [rolling it away] … and now Jesus is alive! And free!”
And then cleaning up from coffee. One of the daughters of the church had already been in the kitchen running the dishwasher, which was a kind and lovely surprise. (“I heard the dishwasher was actually being used again …”)
And then a committee meeting. We made progress on clarifying what we are going to do about the upcoming special offering and about getting a planning group together for the bicentennial celebration events for the rest of the year, and who is going to do what about that in the next week or so.
And then making sure someone has a key to lock up, and checking all the lights, and making sure everyone is out of the building before we set the alarm.
Then again, there are probably worse things than emotional and cognitive whiplash. How else is it going to be? It’s human life, it takes place mostly on the surface. Of something very deep.