Thank you for mentioning the reality of loss in our community amongst our day of celebration and rejoice. I am so grateful for your tact and gentleness to address the passing of Miriam’s husband, Dennis’ stepfather, Dave Hyatt. Thank you for reminding us of Jesus’ call to us, to hold both grief and gratitude simultaneously, so that we can feel met in our sorrows and our joys by a powerful and rich Creator. Yes, God gave us a building seven years ago to gather, eat, and worship; what a reason to have a celebration. Yes, God took one of His children home; what a reason to mourn. But amongst our mourning, we can see the sweetness of what Dave’s life was, what his legacy is, and what his impact will be.
The Super Bowl is a great metaphor for this feeling (a lousy metaphor for lots more other things, but humor me here). I was cheering for the Seahawks, but I also really wanted our Patriot fanatics to have the experience I had last year: cheering for a team all year and having them win it all. I was holding so much watching this game: anticipation, hope for a “victory”, hope for a “loss”, excitement, and even some guilt. The guilt has to do with the absolute ridiculousness of watching football, a completely arbitrary thing to spend time and energy over. There were clearly more important things I could have been doing than watching football. But I am certain that God ordains leisure and fun, in moderation. But when the Patriots won, I was both happy and sad, filled with grief and sorrow.
And so, Rod, when you spoke of the difficulty there may/must have been to have (very) recently experienced the death of a dearly loved one, and to be at A SUPER BOWL PARTY/BUILDING ANNIVERSARY PARTY, it reminded me of the invitation that Jesus gives us. Jesus invites us into the complexity of our feelings. He says to us, “Child, it is ok to feel the weird, jumbled, mess of an emotional glob. I will meet you in the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. I will show you what it is like to be free in your feelings. They will not crush you, for I am with you.”
And I have been challenged to walk boldly into my own feelings. To cry heavy, ugly tears, knowing that Jesus speaks truth and goodness over them. He catches them and holds them in his hands, crying ones of his own. To celebrate loudly and with overwhelming gusto. He will rock a mondo fist pump right there with me. And this is the aliveness that Jesus invites us to. May you and I both trust that Jesus will show us the true richness of our feelings by showing up right there in its messiness. Pray for me as I ask Jesus to keep summoning me into the depths of my feelings, my hopes and longings, my disappointments and my celebrations.