One week ago, Sunday morning… It was cold and dreary outside. I woke up extremely stressed about the things I hoped to complete that day. (So much for that day of rest.) The to do list continued to swim in my head; an impossible puzzle of tasks in a short span of time. My logical self couldn’t make sense of it!
Given some looming deadlines, I needed to go to work – time at the office was not negotiable. Spending time catching up on homework for my new seminary course and going to church to worship with my family seemed like chores. These are supposed to be meaningful activities I choose for my faith journey. Yet on that morning they were tasks that would just get in the way.
But I went to church – because that is what is expected of me. I sat at home for an extra couple hours avoiding the office to study the text for my class and thoughtfully ponder and respond to forum questions such as What do people say about Jesus? Oh, what a burden! (Note the sarcasm, please.) Outside of the moment, it is not a shocker to realize that this time in faith was rewarding and fulfilling; not a burden, but a blessing! Really, by now you’d think I should know better! Those seemingly stolen moments in prayer or study or worship are always worth the time when done with focus and intention.
Even more, this time gave me the opportunity to pose important questions to my family. I was required to respond to forum questions for an adult course with others, who like me actually enjoy deep theological reading and reflection. But… these were such basic and simple questions of faith. Who is Jesus to me? Who is Jesus to other people? I needed to ask the people I care about most.
So, on this cold Sunday morning, I made my family sit down with me at the kitchen table and help me with my homework. I asked my husband and two kids: Who is Jesus to you?
My son said: “Jesus is loving, caring, and the only God there is in the world.” My six-year-old daughter: “Jesus is a loving person of God. He helps and shares with other people.” My husband’s response was simple yet profound: Jesus is “God’s grace and God’s love made alive on earth.” Each statement led to more questions, deeper discussion.
I next asked what Jesus looks like. My kids responded beautifully. I expected them to speak of the physical image of Jesus, but they made no mention of appearance. Instead, my daughter said “He looks like a caring person” and my son said “He looks like you can’t even see him. He is so loving that you can’t see him.” Far more theological depth than I had given them credit for.
My husband said: “Jesus looks like you and me. Jesus is the embodiment of God in us. Is that theologically right?” I found it interesting that he immediately questioned the accuracy of his response to a pretty personal question. This led to even more discussion and personal reflection.
These very simple questions, posed somewhat unwillingly on a “stressful” Sunday morning, led to some pretty great conversation with my family.
We make faith hard sometimes. It doesn’t have to be. No need to fret, or artificially construct a study guide, or force Q&A which just doesn’t really apply to your real life. Sometimes we can just ask questions and see where it goes. We remain honest with our responses. And we listen, then respect the ideas of others. God works through these easy conversations in really big ways.