Next week is Father's Day, and I couldn't help but start thinking about that this week.
I remember before I was a dad. I was convinced about certain ways that I could do things. I was going to be a super dad. No TV, no shoving screens in front of their faces. They were going to be particularly well behaved at dinner.
But the truth is I was of course a better parent before I was one. Over time I realized that some of those things when done well weren't necessarily bad things. Sometimes it’s okay to have the kids watch PBSKids.
Of course, you could have told me these things back then. But it wouldn’t have mattered. I wouldn’t have understood them the way I do now.
I think that’s 16:12 for us today.
“Bear” felt like such a strange word. As if like somehow Jesus was saying we weren’t strong enough for something. A “you can’t handle the truth” kind of moment.
But it’s not that way. The way the word is translated throughout the New Testament is more like “tolerate, put up with, carry, hold”… so it seems less about some internal defect, but more about the experiences in our lives.
When I saw Abraham for the first time, I knew I had crossed over some path. Was different because of it. I understood some things differently. Same with marriage, same with ordination. And it's not that somehow I'm a completely different person, but somehow, I'd been invited to carry a new set of things with me.
It doesn't always mean I even felt like I could handle it all - this is a funny thing... I know we talk about "God doesn't give us more than we can handle," but that's not really anywhere in the Bible. Instead, it's that there's nothing in the world that God can't handle. This resonates with our texts. The whole Trinity seems to get that we will cross certain thresh-holds and need to carry more. But nothing is outside the scope of what the Trinity can bear above, beside, and within us.
We will not know the truth of the new moment before we arrive.
Isn’t that faith? Isn’t that the Spirit? To be our guide as we walk thorough paths without Jesus but to know what he calls us to?
Seems apropos as we start heading towards a couple open houses and really start to move quickly with the new building and everything that'll be happening.
It's easy to look around, and to wonder about what's happening next. We are walking into a new era of the church, and it's easy to look at the past for reference
Some of us still feel like we're caught in the end of 2019 and its tumult.
We might also still feel caught in the drags of the last few years.
Still others might be wistfully nostalgic for earlier days with thousands of members and multiple buildings.
But all those moments are only portions of what could come next. They are shadings overlaid on a painting yet begun. And previous experiences are never new experiences. We are walking into things that have never been experienced by anyone before. What we experience, we carry, and what we can't, we trust the Trinity is in front of us to go with us.
And the learning on bearing what the Spirt will teach doesn’t end at a particular point. The times our anger wells up might be times that we need to consider how we are being invited to bear new things.
Our call walking forward in our faith is not always to know but to experience.