Jun 19th, Jesus and Airplane Mode, with Becca Ellis
Jun 19th, Jesus and Airplane Mode
I wonder how many of you in.
The past two years, two months, even.
Just two weeks ago, have felt burnt out, exhausted, overwhelmed, heartbroken and outraged numb.
I’m willing to bet that most of.
Us who are watching right now have felt at least one of these ways relatively recently. I know I have.
And it’s interesting these days when I.
Ask someone, how are you?
They don’t seem to respond so quickly.
With just I’m fine or doing good.
There is this hesitancy, this pause, almost.
Like they really aren’t sure.
And then one of these words that.
I listed or something similar seems to come up.
And it makes sense because.
We’Re all carrying a lot.
There’s the collective grief from the pandemic Ukraine mass shootings, headline after headline. And then there’s all the things in.
Our personal lives that we’re carrying around with us. That conversation with your sister last week.
That diagnosis that you just found out.
About and you aren’t sure what’s next. Your teenagers crippling anxiety, your good friends, recent divorce or breakup. The list goes on. We’re carrying a lot, aren’t we?
If you’ve been a part of our.
Services at first Pres for long, maybe.
You’Ve heard us say before how we take this transition, this moment of getting.
Here, to being here.
And for me, growing up, church was a place where I was told that in order to fully worship God, I needed to leave my distractions at the door. I needed to check my baggage. Forget the hard and heavy the friction maybe felt on the way over or the fact that the sun was shining and I was in a pew instead of playing outside. It was this idea that you had to focus all of your attention on this one holy hour to please God, do your Christian duty. As if maybe all of me and all the things that I’m inevitably carrying.
Weren’T really welcome in that space, a watered down version of me and everyone around me.
But I don’t think that’s what we’re.
Saying when we invite this transition, when we go from getting here to being here.
We’re not saying to leave everything at the door.
We’re saying you’re invited into presence, into this moment and bringing your full self.
And we’ll say sometimes that it’s a grounding moment. And I love that imagery because it takes us from our personal experiences that honestly can feel like flailing sometimes, and it reconnects us to even the literal ground that we are all walking on.
We’re reminded that we’re not alone. We’re all here together, and we’re all carrying a lot, even if we’re not aware of it. And maybe these things that we’re carrying around in our hearts, we can’t and shouldn’t. Just sat down. Recently, I was having lunch with a friend. I was in the midst of two.
Really exhausting and stressful weeks.
I could have used any of those.
Words I listed to describe it. Plus, the more colorful ones. And I almost didn’t go to lunch because there was just too much to do.
How was their time?
But I went, and it was obvious. I was wearing this all really heavy on my body.
And my friend asked me something that took me completely off guard.
He said, what does it feel like to not be present? What? Excuse me? He said, what is it like to not be present?
I see you doing it.
You seem to wander somewhere, I don’t.
Know where, and then you come back. I don’t know how I responded. I didn’t know how to respond. But I’ve been carrying that question around in my heart ever since.
If you know me, I am someone.
Who strives to be a present person.
When I talk, I often talk about presence.
When I write, I write about it. I crave presence. I crave the intimacy that comes with presence.
And yet here I was at the.
Short 45 minutes lunch with a friend, fading in and out of being fully there. What is it like to not be.
Present during the school year?
I drive my kids to school every day.
And if you’ve ever talked to me about this part of my day, you will have heard me explain the amount of time spent behind the steering wheel when you have three children at three different schools with three different start times and no buses. Needless to say, I had been looking forward to the end of school year since September. But here I was, three weeks to school being out, and suddenly I thought, Wait a minute. How did we get here? Like, really, how did we get here at all?
Where have I been?
Because every morning I had the opportunity.
To be with my children.
I had their undivided attention during our commute. But more often than not, if I’m going to be completely honest, it was just about getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible so I could get on with the important things I had in my day ahead. And that’s where my mind was. It wasn’t with the person who was right next to me.
I wasn’t fully there.
And the thing about presence, though, is that if we’re practicing it, if we’re entering into the moment at hand, we might not remember it all, but we.
Can say, I was there. We were there together. We didn’t miss it.
You know, one of the things that I find most compelling about Jesus is the way that he embodied presence. We’re finishing this series up called Freeing Jesus, where we’ve been expanding our views of Jesus and our understanding of what he came to model Jesus as. Lord, teacher, savior, friend, way. Last week was presence, and I missed that note. So we’re doing Presence 2.0 today. But when I think about Jesus in presence, I first think about the questions that Jesus asked, because you can’t ask good questions unless you’re really listening. Have you ever been talking to someone but really you’re just thinking ahead in your mind what you’re going to say when they finally stop. Or maybe you’ve been on the opposite end of it and you think, did you even hear me just now? We can tell when someone is not really present to what we’re saying or that interested. Jesus was also present to the grief and the pain and the suffering around him. He was present to the question lingering.
Behind his disciples eyes, almost like he could read minds.
He was present to the question behind the question that those who tried to trap him or test him with would ask.
And he was present to his own body.
He knew when to rest and retreat. And I wonder, with all that we.
Are carrying, all that is going on around us, if rest and retreat is.
Something we might need to focus on.
A little bit, we might think, sure.
Rest and retreat, that might be all good, but what about all my wounds? What about all the grief and loss we’re carrying around? What about all my worries? How can a little bit of rest.
Help me stay present in the midst of all of that?
And I think about Jesus words in Matthew, maybe you’ve heard them before, where he simply states, do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
And who of you, by worrying, will add a single hour to your life? And at first the cynicism kind of kicks in and I go, well, that’s all nice and maybe easier said than done because have you met my brain? And how exactly are we supposed to just set down our worries with everything.
Going on in the world right now?
But then I get a little curious.
And I lean in and wonder about these words.
And what I find is an invitation.
Into presence, into this moment, the only.
Moment that we’re actually promised there’s enough.
Right here in front of us.
And I don’t think this means never think about the future or plan ahead or be reckless because only the current moment matters. No, when we’re wise with our days, we pave the way for goodness ahead.
And we’re making this world together.
I mean, isn’t that the great invitation too into knowing God love in this really revolutionary way that Jesus embodied this love that reminds us that the kingdom of God? Do you remember that thing I used to talk about?
It’s not back there, it’s not up there. And there is nothing you have to do to become more for it. You don’t have to heal your woundedness.
Before you show up.
It’s living in and among and through you right now and you are a.
Vital part of it. Let’s get this thing right.
And I wonder about that too. I wonder if in each moment we knew we truly believe that we were.
Enough, how would we live our lives?
Because it kind of takes away this idea of striving for that elusive one day when we gain this, learn that, reach that milestone, become something more.
And instead it says, no, beloved, you are already enough.
In fact, you are so enough.
You are exactly what the world needs right now in this moment and the next.
And it’s true.
We change, we grow, we evolve, thank God. And in each moment we will be what the world needs for healing.
Imperfect and whole, wounded and beautiful. But that’s easier to say than to really internalize. That phrase, you are enough, has become almost meaningless to us because we look around and we still feel all of our not enoughness. We look at that person over there and we think, but look at them. They’ve got it all together. They are making an impact. And I’m over here barely doing anything, not even able to heal myself. Look at all these wounds I’m carrying. How can I make an impact like this?
But what if it’s our very wounds that enable us to make a difference?
What if it’s our very suffering that opens us up to feeling compassion towards.
The suffering of others?
How would we live our lives if we truly believed we were exactly what.
Was needed to heal the world? In Hebrew, this idea of restoration, of healing the world is tecoon lamb and.
It literally means restoring the world.
But there’s this greater idea to it. There’s this longing to return to the way things are supposed to be, which I think a lot of us feel right now with the heaviness of the world.
But it’s also a collective act. We are co healers with God and with one another. And it’s not going to be accomplished through fixing all the world’s problems at.
One time, but rather through healing one heart at a time. We’re all carrying a lot around inside of us and maybe it’s too much. Maybe we aren’t meant to carry this much alone.
And, you know, I don’t think that we were meant to be connecting to.
Every single little blip across our screen, right?
Headline after headline. Humans are geared for connection.
It’s one of the beautiful things about us, how we crave belonging and togetherness, how we can come together and collectively grieve over these horrific acts that happen.
Globally or in our communities.
We’re good at connecting, but we’re not cell phones. Cellphones are made to connect so well, in fact, that they have to have an airplane mode. So you’re not connecting to every single cell tower over a flight path, right? Sometimes I think it would be nice.
If there was an airplane mode for humans, but I think we can get.
Confused sometimes we can see these devices almost as an extension of ourselves and we think, okay, but if we’re not connected to everything, if we’re not reading into this issue or responding to that issue. We’re sharing this or talking about that or becoming an expert on this. Maybe it means I don’t really care or I’m apathetic and I don’t want that to happen.
Of course you don’t. I don’t think that’s what’s happening. I think sometimes it’s just too much.
Author Tiffany Shlain in her book 24 Six The Power of Unplugging once a week she writes about her experience with doing a tech shabbat where once a week she literally unplugs and goes analog for 24 hours with her family and.
How restorative this practice is for her.
And one of the lines she writes that has stuck with me. She says connecting broadly is meaningless unless we connect deeply. I wonder about that. I wonder maybe it’s not possible to connect deeply with every single headline, an.
Issue that flashes across the screen. But what about in our everyday lives?
What about in this moment? What does it look like to connect to the stories, to listen deeply to the stories of those who are maybe.
Even wildly different from us?
How does that connect us maybe more deeply to systemic issues? What does it look like to enter into the pain and joy of another?
And what does that do to us?
How does that help us become more.
Involved in the healing of the world? What does it look like for me to be present to my son or daughter on the drive to school? What does it look like to heal one heart at a time? How can we connect more deeply? How can we make sure that we don’t miss it? What is it like to not be present? Maybe a little bit like numbness floating by an autopilot, a sleepiness? Or maybe we’re just so divided and overwhelmed we just don’t feel really present anywhere. We’re all carrying a lot and there.
Is so much heartbreaking news happening around.
Us at an alarming rate. How do we stay present in the midst of that? I don’t really have a perfect answer.
But I won’t stop asking questions. And sometimes I think it really is just too much. We have to turn off the TV, put the phone down, stop the doom scrolling, tend to our hearts and the.
Hearts of those around us tend to our wounds.
We need to know when to rest and retreat and know that that doesn’t.
Mean that we don’t care or that we’re apathetic.
But then maybe we can look squarely.
At each moment we are given, lean.
In and wonder what is it that I want to create in this moment.
As cohealers with God and with one another?
How can I contribute to the healing of the world? Am I listening well enough to ask good questions?
Am I present to the people right around us?
Do I truly believe that I am exactly what is needed in this moment for the healing, the restoration of the world?
I can’t help but believe that if.
The person of Jesus revealed to us the true heart of God, that this has to be part of what love looks like, this intentional, authentic presence that allows us to connect deeply so that.
We can make a real difference. And I wonder how often it starts with just becoming present to what is right around us.
All I know is that one day.
I want to be able to say, I didn’t miss it. I was there. We were there together. We didn’t miss it. Peace to you, friends.