This has been such an amazing few weeks.
First, all five of our grands and all four daughters were here for our 60th birthday party bash on July 13th, then, second, this week, three of our grands, Antonia, Theo and Gregory have been here for a week while their parents went backpacking. Both these times were incredible. I just love these kids.
Theo and Josie, cousins, are close to the same age and are the daring duo for certain. Two weeks ago I overheard this conversation:
Theo: “You know what, Josie? When I grow up I will be a man and when you grow up you will be a,” and he paused trying to think of what exactly to say, “you will be, a, a, mother. I will be king and you will be queen. Won’t that be fun?”
Josie was not paying attention too keenly but said, “Yah,” in response.
After Josie returned home, her other grandma was poking her with words saying, “Josie, are you going to grow up to be accident prone?”
And perhaps turning into this previous conversation with Theo and others, Josie responded, “No. I’m going to be a princess and Spider Man.” When Theo was told of this response, he responded by reminding her that she would be a queen but affirmed she could be Spider Man, as well.
Actually this is not bad theology. In Christ we are all priests and kings -- we are mighty with authority. And as to Spider Man, well, we have been given great power and equally great responsibility.
I think, however, that often we live below God’s high calling and gifting of our lives. This is especially true when we are not connected to community. For it is in community that we get reminded and invited into this greater Story -- just like Theo did with Josie.
On our own, it’s hard to even remember the Story we are a part of. We can spend too much time immersed in other less significant stories. From there, it is difficult to remember our regal status, our great power, our amazing giftings, especially when surrounded by other voices which downplay instead of emphasizing who we truly are.
I noticed this when the kids were playing at the park this week. Karen and I had both been playing with them, and then the two older ones were off in a game of their own filled with a plot line, intrigue, and adventure. I was following 20-month-old Gregory around as he made the circuit from the ladder, down the slide, back under the play structure to the ladder again.
Suddenly, the two older kids were beside me: “Ok. You are the bad guy and we are going to tie you up and leave you in jail.”
“Hey! How did I even get into this game?” I jokingly complained. “I was minding my own business here!” But they were insistent and Gregory was being tracked by Karen. So, I was dutifully tied with invisible webs, and put into jail (the ground beneath the play structure onto the astro turf) and they ran off and left me there.
Alone -- I would just have been standing there in my own thoughts but together, by their insistence, I got involved in a larger story.
Sunday in first service the scripture and the quote that Virginia had included in the bulletin hit a couple people significantly. One woman shed tears as she told of her own journey with fear. She shared how Esther’s story had spoken right into her own. In other words, her own story had been placed into the larger Story of Scripture and within that greater story she had found strength, sustenance and hope for her own.
That’s the idea -- we need to be “included in a larger story” by walking this faith thing together with others.
Had this woman in first service not been at church, she would have missed two connections -- one that of being connected to the larger Story which answered questions she did not know she was asking. And also, she would have missed connecting with all of us there, who totally could relate to what she was sharing.
This faith thing is not meant to be alone, for when we try that, we miss out on finding how we are part of a larger Story which gives meaning to our own. And remember -- you too are a king or queen, you just may not have recognized your regal status when you saw yourself in the mirror.