Today is Boxing Day. I’m doing a fun job, the culmination of a year’s worth of preparing. I’m putting together a slide show for our church, highlighting the events and activities of 2012. The slide show will be shown at the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day services. I’ve taken hundreds of photos throughout the year. Now it’s time to sort, crop, zoom and sequence the photos into a visual narrative of sorts. It’s almost as fun as writing, arranging the pictures to tell a story… the story of love for God and love for neighbour at our church.
I wish everyone could take a turn at this job (although no one else seems to be jumping at the chance :-). The photo story magnifies what we know and profess _ the communion of the saints _ showcasing it, holding it up for an appreciative view, like a necklace draped on black velvet, its precious living stones strung together, their shine enhanced by proximity, the glimmer multiplied.
We don’t see each other this way enough. We see one another’s flaws so much more readily – Eugene’s impatience, Dayna’s controlling nature, Lucy’s tendency to complain, Rudolph’s parsimony. (All pseudonyms that apply to me as well as anyone else!) Those flaws are real. But the photos tell a true story, too.
There’s elderly Susan holding little Theo at the baby shower. Jane and Jessie are waiting for their turn. There’s everyone lining up to shake the hands of Mike and Jenn and the others who made profession of faith. There’s the fellowship hall filled to the rafters at the potluck lunch to welcome the pastor. There’s Shane and Clay climbing the tree out in front of the church, Jesse and Caleb playing their gameboys on the piano bench, Kailey and Brooke doing a whimsical jig in the church basement. Baptisms, seniors dinners, choir concerts, Sunday school events, HANDS Team pancake breakfasts, Friendship Sunday, VBS, Gems Mother and Daughter banquet, the Serve Team garage sale, Mindy and Marisa playing their instruments, Harry tuning up the soundboard, Jim and Aijolt peeling potatoes. Exquisite moments of hugs, of friendship, of worship, of work, of support, of love for one another. A multitude of moments that combine to outshine passing irritations with a blinding beauty, like the sun breaking the horizon, so bright you can hardly take it in.
As the photos flash by, we see beyond our own small church circles – our family clan, our Coffee Break study group, our Council meetings. We see a connected whole that, in the right light and with the right spirit, gives a glimpse of what God sees … his people, his family, his children … his delight. And, in the right light and with the right spirit, we also see God dwelling in us and among us. The Wyoming CRC as just another manger.
I love this job. I love my church.