Look at how good and pleasing it is
when we live together as one! (Psalm 133:1)
Emily, Libby and I had a great time last night by staying up well past our collective bedtime to watch “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” on the Great Lawn at Millennium Park. We joined our laughter with that of some great, fellow members of the Holy Covenant community, and thousands of others whom we did not know. Many of us knew the film’s script by heart and anticipated the jokes; we laughed and applauded before the lines were delivered. Many others had never seen the film before, but were quickly swept up by it and added their voices to the sea of sound that was our collective reaction. Joy moved in waves across us all as we bathed in the light of the screen and the ambience of the skyline. Taking it all in, I remembered the verse above from Psalm 133. Look, indeed. Caught up in equal parts community and urban escapism, it was a good a pleasing thing to be living together, seemingly as one.
But as the story of Pee Wee and his bike began to find resolution, I remembered that our “living together as one” was just a fleeting moment. As the credits rolled, the lawn cleared out. Thirty-five minutes later, you would have little idea that we had even been there. Pee Wee Herman, as charismatic a character as he is, doesn’t have the power to sustain us in unity.
We claim Christian community can be more than a moment, though, if God is at the center of us. And Christian community is more than a moment when we celebrate God’s grace with thanksgiving. Every week at the 7 p.m. service, we remind ourselves of this. “It is a right and a good and a joyful thing, always and everywhere …” we say as we gather at table to celebrate communion. And, when we surround the table with our hope and prayer, it is a good and pleasing thing to be a part of … not because of the moment alone, but because of where it sends us. While our leaving the film changed little about our lives, city and world, leaving the communion table, filled with the goodness of God, transforms us to live differently in our city and world.
Ultimately, what is good and pleasing isn’t about how I feel, but rather who we become. There is power in that. And while it begins in worship, it is lived after the lights go out and everyone heads back into a reality where the reign of God is breaking free. I hope that you will make time for the ritual of weekly worship this summer so that you can see and participate in that reality with pleasure. If you don’t, you are missing out on how good the faith life can be.
Peace and love,