Each year the FBCR congregation sets aside a few weeks for reflection. We reflect collectively on who we are as a church, and we reflect individually on how we relate to the church at large. From now through Sunday, November 7, 2021 I want to invite our faith community to consider broadly what it means to live in community together. Toward that end, we will highlight nine different facets of community, nine ways by which our community takes shape.
For the last two weeks on Wednesday nights, we’ve been talking about stewardship, the shapes it can take, and how each of us can become stewards. Part of our discussion revolved around identifying the resources we all have, especially those resources that we might not immediately recognize as resources.
One of those resources is our emotions. Throughout his life, we see Jesus stewarding his emotions towards the building of God’s peaceable reality of welcome and grace. Whether he was angry, such as the time he pitched a fit at the temple or yelled at a fig tree, whether he grieved, such as the time he cried in the garden, or whether he was experiencing delight, Jesus showed his followers that one’s emotions are a central component of living a life of faith— not only this, but that, as God’s physical image on earth, it’s through our bodies that we experience relationship with God.
The same is true for the church. There’s a reason, after all, why we call ourselves the body of Christ. We, just like the elements we take once a month, are sometimes broken, which not only is alright, but reflects Jesus, who, following his crucifiction, was broken as well. Thomas tells us that Jesus “had the mark of the nails in his hands and […] side,” an unperfect body, one whose emotions sometimes were, just like ours are, topsy turvy, but which, just like God, were essential.
There’s a Pixxar movie called Inside Out whose characters all represent different emotions. There’s Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and other characters. Each of these emotions work alongside each other in a control center located in a young girl’s head, helping her live her life every day and stay afloat through her life’s ups and downs. I like to think that we, the church, are kind of like a control center, too. Each of us have different roles and pull different levers, but work together as one team, helping the body of Christ take steps every day.
Here are some questions that linger for me:
- How do our emotions help us experience God’s presence?
- How can we learn to steward our emotions as non-tangible resources?
- How have some of us been discouraged from expressing certain feelings?
- And what do all of these questions have to do with our life together as the church?