When you are a pastor people ask you all sorts of intriguing questions. Many of the questions folks ask me are of a theological nature. I get asked about the nature of good and evil. I get asked about events from Jesus’ earthly life. I get asked about death and heaven and why God let’s bad things happen to good people.
Since I am a woman who is an ordained clergy person – I get asked a fair number of questions about what the Bible says about females and church leadership. (And yes – I do know and have read the parts of the Bible that tell women to keep quiet and not teach men. Actually I have read the ENTIRE Bible more than once. I am a great big nerd after all.) You would not believe the number of the times someone has shared the following with me:
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” – 1 Timothy 2:12-15.
This passage drives me a little batty because I have read other parts of the Bible too like the following:
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” – Genesis 3:6.
Yes- Adam was there all along! And Eve did not force or trick Adam to eat from that piece of forbidden fruit – but I digress. Apparently I do that a lot – or so my beloved family tells me!
Okay anyway – before I digress too much and head off on a theological tangent (yet again) – not all of the questions I am asked are theological. One of the questions I am asked most often is something along the lines of ” Hey Pastor Kerri – doesn’t it totally freak you out to be in the church all by yourself?”
I find this particular question thoroughly intriguing – because no – I am absolutely – positively not freaked out by being in the church by myself. (Yes – I have had some moments when I have wished for company – but that is usually when I have been forced to tell someone that I won’t give them money for drugs and they have been upset by my answer.)
For me – being at church – is like being at home – I am incredibly comfortable here. I love it when the church is full of people. I love being surrounded by my sisters and brothers in Christ – but I also love being in the church alone. I don’t think that the church is spooky or feels haunted or creepy when it is dark and empty. I am pretty sure that the only ghost that spends any time in the church is the Holy Ghost!
I look forward to the time that I have alone in the church. It is very – very peaceful! I do some of my best thinking and praying when I am in the church alone.
I enjoy puttering around the church doing tasks in the narthex and the sanctuary and the fellowship hall and the church kitchen.
I love listening the sounds the building makes. Sometimes the building sighs. Other times the building seems to crackle in the wind.
I delight in watching the light and shadows change throughout the day and over the course of the year. The shadows look so very different in July than they do in January.
Just yesterday morning – as I was puttering around in the sanctuary and the narthex – cleaning up and straightening up after our Sunday worship – I noticed how stunningly beautiful the light was.
The light was streaming in through all of the windows casting rainbows all over the sanctuary.
Everywhere I turned there was a beautiful pool of light or a rainbow.
I was dazzled by the beauty I was surrounded by.
The colors shifted and moved and changed as the sun traveled across the sky and clouds danced in the heavens.
I found myself standing in awe a few times just taking in the amazing beauty of it all.
Soon I found myself giving thanks for the beauty that I had the honor to witness on what otherwise had seemed like a pretty ordinary Monday morning in the middle of July.
I know that these days are not easy. We are living through days – weeks – and months that will historians will write about. Will they call it the Great Pandemic of 2020? Or perhaps they will call is something else.
But I do know that we are not going through these days – weeks – and months alone. Our God is with us. Our God has promised us that he is with us always.
I saw God’s presence on Monday morning in dancing rainbows and shifting shadows and beams of light. Where are you seeing God in your own lives these days? Keep your hearts and your eyes open. God is with you! You are never alone.
You are all in my heart – thoughts – and prayers.
In Christ and with Love –