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December 03, 2021
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Okay, God, Whatever

Oct 05 2021

A week or so ago, I had what I would consider a really bad juggling practice session.  I was feeling pretty low, fueled by the fact that birthday number 60 is looming larger each day. The next morning my head wasn't in a much better space, but I had a show, so I packed up and headed across town to Bella Point, an assisted living facility.  I even found the venue disappointing, thinking, "I'm such an old, washed up juggler, the only place that wants me any more is the same old place I go three or four times a year.  Poor me!"  As I set up the out door show, I realized that I would be positioned in such a way that the sun would be in my eyes the whole time.  "Poor me."

But then, as I started the show (for a whopping crowd of eight people) it became clear that two of the women in attendance were devout Christians.  I'd start a story and they'd announce what chapter and verse it could be found in.  I'd paraphrase a passage, and they'd correct me with the exact quote.  They were having a blast, and it put me in mind of the verse that says, "Do good unto all, but especially unto those who belong to the household of faith."  I had the incredible opportunity to share fun and fellowship with two women who had little to no outside contact (and even less from fellow Christians) since moving into Bella Point.  

Part two of this story begins after the show had ended.  One of the men in attendance approached me and said, "The juggling was good, but everything you said about Jesus was wrong." Oh boy.

He continued, "30 years ago I died for seven minutes, and I went to heaven..."  Ooooohh boy.

"I saw God and asked Him where Jesus was, and He said he had been banished for taking credit for what the Apostle Paul had actually done."  Say it with me: OOOOHHHH BOY.

He continued, "Jesus has been banished the solar systems away."

My first thought was, "Three soalr systems away from here, or away from heaven."  Realizing my sarcasm wouldn't help the conversation,but not knowing how else to respond, I silently prayed a very profound prayer: "Okay, God, whatever!"  (I said it was profound, not eloquent.  No, you won't find this in the Common Book of Prayer, or any Anglican liturgies, but it's actually quite profound when you think about it.

And God answered.  Suddenly I knew how to respond.  I simply said, "I don't know about all that, but I do know what Jesus did for me on the cross when He died for my sins."  It put me in mind of Paul writing, "I desire nothing but to preach Christ, and Him crucified."  It also occured to me that it's so easy to get sucked into thew black hole of debate: masks or no masks, red or blue politics, when in fact, the church's primary mission is to preach Christ crucified for our sins and risen again.

As for my new friend, I'd like to say he had a profound conversion experience in the parking lot that morning, but really all he said was, "I gotta go in for lunch."  But that prayer, "Okay, God, whatever" has stuck with me.  No doubt doctors going into surgery shoudn't pray something so vague (At least in front of their patients!) So many times the Holy Spirit seems to be taking us on wild goose chases.  We don't know where He's leading, what will happen along the wya, and certainly not our role in the whole journey.  But a sincere, "Okay, God, whatever" can be a humble way to remember our job is not to lead or even see the full picture, but to surrender to His oft-confusing but always perfect will.  May I remember that when I have my next bad practice session or am intimidated by how old 60 seems.

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