Sunday, August 16, 2009

Responsibility (and What I Really Want to Do)

Shortly, after the kids have woken from their naps and the clock approaches four, we'll load the pumpkins into the car and commence our forty minute drive to downtown Denver so we can help in the nursery at church.

What I really long to do--yearn for, even--is drive to church, give the kiddos a kiss, wish them a good time in Sunday school, hand them over to someone else, and then slide into one of the pews in the back of the sanctuary and let the music and the Truth of the evening wash over me as I sit in still, quiet, passive reflection.

For some reason, our summer weekends have been busy, full of travel and events and parties and all manner of good things with an occasional sickness thrown in for good measure, resulting in an inability to attend church with any kind of regularity. In fact, of the handful of times we've been able to go, only once have we been able to simply attend the service. The rest of the time, it has been either our turn in the nursery or it's been a home church Sunday (the last Sunday of the month, our church doesn't meet in a centralized location but rather meets in several homes throughout the Denver metro area). I love meeting as a home church, but thanks to the busyness of other people's summer schedules, our regular childcare for these home church meetings has been sparse, so for the last three months, even at home church I've been helping with the kids and unable to participate in the service.

I miss it. Tremendously.

Not because I think that missing church makes me any less spiritual or committed or devout, and not because I think attending church makes me any more spiritual or committed or devout, and certainly not because I think that loving these precious kiddos is unimportant, but because on a soul level, I hunger for Truth. And while I get tastes and glimpses of it everyday, everywhere--in music I hear, in interactions I see, in conversations I have, in movies and t.v. shows I watch, in books I read, in the grandeur of the mountains I behold daily--when I sit in The Sanctuary and hear Peter recast the Bible stories I grew up with in the Truth of God's mercy and grace, transforming hellfire and brimstone judgement into the consuming fire of God's love, I am set free. I can breathe more deeply. I can see more clearly.

I can walk away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, rejecting the temptation to judge myself and others in my attempt to make myself like God, and instead bow humbly, gratefully, and amazed at the tree where God's judgement is revealed--the cross. Where the only body broken and the only blood shed is His own, in love. Where the only words spoken over humanity are, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

The old, misinformed paradigm from which I used to operate is chipped away little by little so that a little more of the the unique story God is telling through me, and each of us, is revealed. I am reminded of--and transformed by--gospel, good news.

But tonight, though I am tired and longing to hear this story in the sanctuary, I will go to the nursery and allow God to tell me His story in the more subtle ways. Not out of martyrdom, but out of my sense of responsibility to and gratitude for the other people who sacrifice their time other nights to care for my children. And hopefully next week, the stars will align so that we can drop off our children, slip into a pew in the back, and listen to the really good story God is telling through someone else.

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