Surgeon General’s Warning: This post contains hypocrisy in varying amounts, read at your own risk :)
So, to be very honest, I was not looking forward to going to church this morning. It had been a very busy week. I just started at the children’s hospital, I went on a commissioning retreat, and had family and friends in town, in short, the stress of a lot of good things happening too close together. So, I wasn’t excited. I even considered not going, but only in the way I consider not brushing my teeth — it’s an option, but it’s not one I generally ever take.
Part of why I eventually went, besides the fact that I believe the Holy Spirit is at work even when I’m reluctant or grumpy, is because today was a slightly different Sunday. We were doing a ‘church swap’ with a Mennonite congregation down the road, so we could get to know one another. This meant that some folks from the Mennonite church came to our 9:30 service and we were going to head over and join their 11:00 service.
And a funny thing happened, as it sometimes does, I got what I needed to hear for the day from the children’s moment. Now this may just say something about me and my ability to process information but there is also something to how we get to the root of the idea sometimes when talking to children. The elder was talking the children through the story of Moses. He reminded them of how they had learned about Joseph and how that had led to the Pharaoh’s fear of their being too many Hebrew men. The part that really struck me though was when he started talking about the midwives who wouldn’t kill the Hebrew baby boys. He talked with the kids about how we generally consider disobeying to be bad, but that there are times when we have to say no to power to follow God, especially because God loves all of us, and we are not to take life.
I thought to myself, wow, these children are being taught about saying no to power when it goes against love of God and love of neighbor. Why haven’t I talked about this in church before? Because if we don’t teach children (and adults) in church that we sometimes have to say no to power to say yes to God, where are we going to learn? In school? Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. On the internet? (Here’s the hypocrisy) I’m going to tell you in a blog that there’s a limit to what we can learn from the internet and blogs. I really appreciate the blog posts I’ve read and articles that teach me and show me perspectives different than my own, but it’s not the same as a conversation. (And I’d hazard a guess that some of the comments section on blog posts and articles would make Jesus cry). Now here’s the balance, many of our churches lack diversity of perspective but that doesn’t mean we’re excused from discussion, it just means we do still need to invite and read and ask questions. But we, as the church, are where this conversation needs to start, because it’s our responsibility, and if not at church, then where?
At the end of the day, I was also reminded about why the Body of Christ is deep and wide. We often have different areas of emphasis, and we can learn from each other. Today, I was so thankful to learn from my Mennonite brothers and sisters and to be reminded about one of the ways that we are called to be the church.