Seeing Single

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Last night, I had a real joy.  Two girls from my confirmation class are moving next month, and they didn’t want to leave town without being baptized and confirmed.

So 9 of us gathered in the chapel to celebrate the event.  There were several iPhones and iPads broadcasting live to family members and dear friends.  It was awesome.

The girls are identical twins, by the way.  People always have trouble telling them apart. Me too.  It used to drive me crazy!  But now, I have no problem.  Isn’t that interesting? I’ve stopped seeing double.  Now I look at them and I see…single.  What’s changed?

Each girl stood up and read a creed she had written, sharing what she believed.  The creeds were completely different, but equally beautiful.  My heart swelled to hear them sharing how much they’d actually learned after two years of fun weekly classes.  (Yes, TWO YEARS of confirmation! It’s totally worth it!)

We give our confirmands stoles that they decorate.  Rainbows, crosses, crowns, waterfalls, each of them had different signs and symbols of their faith.  After their baptisms, one of the other two teachers presented them with the stole for them to proudly wear.

Certainly, these girls have a lot in common, but if you look closely, you see that they are special in their own, different ways.  I took me a while, but the more I’ve looked, the more unique things I’ve seen about each of them.

The same is true with any crowd of people.  One glance at a sanctuary of worshippers can make you think Christians are all alike.  But over time, looking through God’s eyes, you begin to see each person as “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139).  Like Paul reminds us, we’re each different parts of the body of Christ.  We’re all in it together, but in different ways.

It’s not just a Sunday morning Christian thing  either; it’s an everywhere thing.  People are special.  And unique.  I’m hesitant to say “like a snowflake”, as that has for some reason become a put down, but I believe it’s true. That’s how God made us. The more we look, the more we’ll be blessed to see:

No two people are identical.

Not even the identical ones.

Have a great week,

Mitch

11.1.0

Babel-iscious

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But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”  Genesis 11:5-7

Remember those days when Novel Corona was still, you know, novel?  I miss those days. For a moment, we seemed united, working together against a common foe. 

But lately?  ARGGGHHHH.

You know what does NOT feed me during this stage of the crisis?  My feed. My Facebook feed, that is. For a while it was all, “We’ve got this”, and, “God bless our teachers.”  That was great, but today it’s like we’re all over the place; everybody’s got a different take, a different priority, a different complaint.  Why can’t we just hold onto the “all in this together” mindset, instead of more back biting, blame gaming, and general disunity?

Four things I need to remind myself:

  1. I’m the type that thrives on harmony, so I’m still learning to appreciate dissonance.
  2. Sites like Facebook just magnify the anger, fear, and misinformation.
  3. Just like 9/11, unity comes in the initial moments, but as people live into the pain they are likely to respond differently.
  4. This is all God’s fault.

It’s God’s fault!  Remember the Tower of Babel?  Those were some good times.  We were all united behind a common purpose, focused on the issues at hand, everyone doing their part, building that awesome tower.  All together!  And then, BOOM!  What once was a people with a common purpose became thousands of fractured groups who couldn’t communicate.

This puzzles me.   My whole life, I’ve been driven by this desire for humanity to come together, to unite, to be of one mind, to sing kumbaya and join hand in hand.  It sounds nice, doesn’t it?

But in the babel story in Genesis, God seems to have a different agenda.  God seems to prefer a world where people have different priorities, positions, and problems.  A world where communication is a challenge, where unity is not as important as…as what?  Diversity?

Maybe.  Some scholars contend the story of the Tower of Babel is a story of God creating diversity, so that instead of focusing on moving upwards, towards God, humanity would learn to move outwards, into the world.

If that’s true, then maybe God is happy to see all the contrary posts scrolling through my Facebook feed.  People with all their different opinions, struggles, and communication troubles.  If that’s true, then I still have a lot to learn about God.

Perhaps the Kingdom of God advances in many ways, not just my way.  As much a fan of harmony as I am, perhaps I’m beginning to recognize what can happen in a cacophony.

So, no matter what comes next with Covid-19, I’m going to reduce my pining for the days when everything seemed so unified, so babel-icious.  I’m going to come down from my ivory tower into the real world that is messy and “confused”.

However you see God at work in this crazy crisis, please post it, email it, or shout it from your front porch.  Let the world hear Good News as it comes through your particular life and circumstances.

I, for one, will be listening for you.  I may not always understand or agree with your point of view,

but I promise not to unfriend you. Probably.

Have a good week,

Mitch

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