A colleague of mine often stops in to ask how things went on the previous Sunday at The Well. Inevitably, I respond "really good", and then go on to describe how although we are unapologetically no well-oiled machine, good things are happening. When he stopped in this morning, I finally gave a different response. I told him the truth about yesterday's worship gathering. I described how tired I was from a physically and emotionally draining week. I told him how despite having the words in front of me, during the message I felt scattered and unable to string my thoughts together. I just did not feel I had it together.
Ironically, two Sunday's ago at The Well we engaged in a powerful discussion centered around the story from the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus heals a demon-possessed man in the synagogue on the Sabbath. This interruption into worship revealed the presence of pain and imperfection, yet through it Jesus was able to offer healing. The imperfection was actually the catalyst for the light of Christ to be revealed. In the words of singer and song writer Leonard Cohen,
"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
This rang true yesterday. Despite (and maybe because of) my inadequacy, it was evident that God was at work. After the message, we engaged in another powerful discussion. People responded with ways that they connected to the scripture text, and where they felt challenged to respond. It was beautiful, and I realized that my capabilities were irrelevant. When people gather together and truly enter into the story of scripture, there will be questions, doubts, fears, and concerns that come to the surface. The willingness to expose those places of struggle makes room for God's Spirit to move among us. And, while it's liberating to know that I am not as important as I sometimes believe I am, it is scary to realize that God works in ways that we cannot predict or control. Although I can help shape something with my hands, what it ends up becoming is always beyond and out of my control.
I suppose the lesson for the journey is to continue to prepare and to embrace my imperfections as the way the light of Christ can be made visible. I am so thankful for being a part of a faith community that allows space for this to happen.