After these messages…


Out and about / Monday, November 26th, 2012

Confession: I’m not so good at members’ meetings.

They seem to be a two-hour plunge into human folly.

I don’t like the tedious agendas, set by our poor wonderful hard-working pastors.

I don’t like the controversy, created by our strong truth-loving parishioners.

I don’t like the chaos, produced by our lively kids weary of too many church services in one day.

Members’ meetings remind me of how I feel about going to the bathroom.

[Peals of laughter from the writer. And from the reader—shock! Hear the loud alarum bells, brazen bells…]

But I’m serious. With the world to conquer and explore, why would I want to spend time sitting in isolation in a small white room? My philosophy is to do it as infrequently as possible; but I hardly have to say how I pay for my belief.

I feel frustrated by the amount of time I must spend caring for this body of mine. I want to celebrate and sing and plant and discover and talk and dance, but I must punctuate these joyous outward activities with so much that feels repetitive, meaningless, and inward. Feeding. Combing. Scrubbing. Trimming. Healing. Removing. Applying. Swallowing. Checking. Brushing. Dressing. Purchasing. Exercising.

Can it be that in church life, some of the distasteful must-do tasks are equally important to the health of the body? Do I resent caring for the body, which ought to be worshipping, discipling, and healing the world?

I think it is possible to go overboard both ways, to be so obsessed with the maintenance of my body that I neglect its purpose… or to be so obsessed with purpose that I neglect maintenance. Equally essential is noticing that I dare not do these tasks sequentially—all of one without mixing in the other. They must run parallel, a bit of one and then the next. I find it fascinating that Scripture instructs us to do both.

I won’t get it perfectly balanced.

Neither will my church.

But last night I went gladly to spend time in a small white room with these people I love, because I care about removing toxins that we may rise up in strength. I care about trimming nails, that we may touch without scratching. I care about clothing this body, that we may walk forward without shame.

*****

Side notes:

1. Our church has gone around and around on questions of communion—is it unfair to restrict the Lord’s Supper to participants who have committed themselves to some local congregation? etc… We’re nowhere near the end of the discussion (and I lean first one way, then the next, with truly feminine stolidity), but I find it helpful to note that when Jesus instigated the feast, He did it in an upstairs room with his twelve best friends and a closed door. Meanwhile, people got hurt in the streets below. Girls cried in the city, children were lost and found again, men struck cheap bargains. He quietly served the bread and wine.

*****

2. Above, I quoted from Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Bells.” Here is a fun read-aloud of the whole piece, performed by Basil Rathbone. Fun, I say, but by the end it drives you nuts, as it was intended to. I don’t like the pictures, so I minimize them.

*****

3. I am ‘not liking’ a lot these days. Forgive me. I will not always be so negative. It’s this thing I do, bout this time of year.

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11 Comments
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Marie
9 years ago

Love it Shari! I suppose you smile at the thought of “the boss” (if it is the month for the Mr.) not being employed at a place where meetings are as frequent as going to the bathroom.

9 years ago
Reply to  Marie

[wink] I will admit it has occurred to me. But let’s just say he does better with them than I do. 🙂

9 years ago

Does the winter lack of sunlight cause Seasonal Affective Disorder for you, as it does for several at our house? For us, understanding that has been helpful in keeping us plodding forward . . .

Irregardless, I still liked your post and am glad you shared it!

9 years ago

Yes, I do struggle with SAD. That’s a big part of it. Understanding helps, though it doesn’t remove… Thanks for caring!

9 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

Yes, knowing does not make it go away. Full spectrum light bulbs do help at our house, and being able to just know spring will help those who have it feel better. hugs!

Treva
9 years ago

I love this! I had to laugh, because that is exactly how I feel about all the time I must spend on the repetitious tasks of caring for myself. There are so many more interesting things to be doing! This is a great comparison… and I think that your negative posts are injected with enough humor and honesty to keep them from feeling heavy. Thank you for this new thought!

Admin
9 years ago

Hey.

Yeah.

Ahem.

Unavoidable delay. Do you think we could listen to French language lessons while we meet?

Moving on…

9 years ago

I agree that balance is needed and I agree that it is easy to fall into a ditch on both sides of the street…

but I think it is usually easier to talk than it is to live…

Shaunda
9 years ago

Love it, Shari. I have often thought that as one progresses in sainthood that earthly cares and physical needs would slowly become a thing of the past. I see the falsehood in that train of thought, but I would maintain that as one grows in Christ, maintenance of the the ‘body’ will become secondary and not a primary focus.

LaDonna Nice
9 years ago

I find members meetings hard to swallow… I find myself sneaking along something to do while we listen to endless reports and wait for first and seconds…;-)

Admin
9 years ago

How’s that thing workin’ out for you?