This week’s eNewsletter Feature
was written by Rev. Amanda Golbek,
FPCE minister of children and youth.
Last Sunday in my sermon I remarked that transition is a natural part of the life of a Christian. It is subsequently the natural state of Christian community. It is an interesting feature of the faith life that rubs up against our human desire for equilibrium. Humans desire for there to be order, it undergirds our deep focus on taking anything chaotic and submitting it to order. Now transition doesn’t mean chaos, but it does mean a certain level of instability, of unpredictability, of engagement with unexperienced realties and outcomes. Our tendency when faced with uncertainty or an undefined quantity of transition is to create a sense of stability. While transition is constant we all know there are periods that feel filled with more transition than others. It ends up looking more like a stair step line on a graph, where we encounter many transitions and then adjust to the “new-normal” for a period, to then engage in further transition. Think of the first disciples, Jesus kept throwing new things at them right and left, taking what they thought they new and tweaking it, altering it just enough to make is something they had to adjust and wrestle with.
The first disciples didn’t always handle the transition they faced particularly well. Like all of us, it is clear their anxiety got the better of them occasionally. There is a particular behavior that we see in the disciples and those that surround Jesus that has a tendency to creep out within ourselves when we are faced with transitions that raise our anxiety, it is called triangulation. The greatest example is in how the Pharisees and Sadducees deal with Jesus. Jesus is raising their anxiety, they go to other people to find out what he is up to and try to find people who will agree with them. Then they go to Jesus, already prepared to discount what he has to say. In triangulation one (1) person has an issue or concern having to do with another person (2), but instead of going to that person, they go to another person (3) and discuss the frustration or concern. This is where the term triangulation comes in, suddenly three people (or more sometimes) are drawn into a situation where indirect conversation is going on.
This is problematic because it involves avoiding directly dealing with the issue, creating allegiances, and includes many assumptions. It turned out poorly for Jesus and creates problems for us as well. I share all this because it is easy for us to respond to transition in a similar way to the disciples and those who surrounded Jesus. Rather than being led by anxiety we are called to remember that God is with us, the path ahead is unfolding step-by-step. If we are challenged or frustrated by something in this season, lets consider that it might be God stretching us. Further, in Christlike relationship go to the person or group that you are struggling with or curious or unsure about and have a conversation. It is amazing the ways that the Spirit can move, bringing us to understanding, when we enter into open and direct communication.
One way that we can best embrace the transitions that come with the journey of faith is by making being in community a priority of our discipleship. This summer we all have the opportunity to join a Koinonia Meal group again. This is a great way to meet new people, build connection, and walk beside brothers and sisters, young and old, and everything in between, as we live into our callings as Christians.
I hope you will say “yes” to a K-group and will join us this Sunday as we hear the Word preached by Professor K.K Yeo.
Rev. Amanda Golbek