The day after Easter, in this pastor's life, is a day of letting-down; all the details and expectation of Holy Week is over. I get to rest back in Resurrection, which I celebrate as grace and hope. And, I get a little punchy...
So, as I ponder this week's scripture, I'm wondering which is worse: folks who just come to church on Easter (and Christmas, of course), or the disciples, in that they hear and know something of the incredible story and power of resurrection, but then keep it protected, behind locked doors.
I'm thinking of two ways we (me certainly included) tend to do this:
One is that we discover how cool life in God is, so we join church. We fill up on the Holy Spirit every week, we find meaning for our lives, and we find it good. But then we just keep that to ourselves. Lacking good models for how we might share our faith (that is, in a way that is not judgmental or pushy or, well, really annoying), we just keep quiet about it.
Our organist at the church, Bob, has talked about how people who find a great new restaurant will eagerly mention it to others, but how relatively reticent we are to talk about something that feels our souls...
The other way this can happen is when we get afraid. John's gospel says the disciples hid behind locked doors because they were afraid. Could be a lot of things that bring us fear, but the one I feel most crippled by these days is the fear that we'll lose what we have. We, in the church, treasure what brought us here, and therefore fear change--the kind of change that might, actually, allow us a more-full experience of the divine.
So, we frown at people who don't dress right, or who belong to the wrong associations, or who seem like they might make us listen to music we hate. (Or, they might do something CRAZY like play a kazoo solo on Easter Sunday. But I digress...)
I'm still haunted/enchanted by a story Doug Pagitt
told at an Emergent Church gathering a couple of years ago, in which he talked about adopting children into his family. They didn't invite the kids in, show them a list of activities the family was planning to participate, and tell them they'd be welcome anywhere. (That would be absurd.) They made them a part of the family, and let everything they'd do be shaped by their presence.
If we, the church, are the family of God, shouldn't we do the same?
And I think we (the water's edge people) need to remember this as much as anyone. We're getting good at being family together, but I'm feeling the Spirit pushing us to share this good stuff we have with others. People who might not find any church to call home, except that they feel at home here. Because we're seeking after being authentic to the Spirit's witness in this place.
As we ponder how we're being (re)defined by resurrection this year, maybe it's a good time to ask how our witness to the outside world looks.
What do you think?