As a pastor, I am grateful for the aerial view of the congregation with which my particular call provides me. For example, on Sunday mornings, at 9:00 a.m., I am gifted with the opportunity to bounce from class to class and to celebrate the spiritual growth of all age groups in the body of Christ.
This past Sunday, I was not bouncing as much usual, because two classes came to me. I was scheduled to lead the high school class, which I hosted in the pastor’s study. Then, this wonderfully engaged group attracted another one, and the middle school class joined the conversation.
The discussion started with a reading from 1 Corinthians, the one in which Paul writes, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” This biblical reflection on knowledge and time led me to ask students questions like: Would you want to know the future if you could do so? And: At what point do technological advancements equip us to play God?
Next, I set this reflection on faith and life into conversation with Netflix’s Black Mirror, which is a series with which most of the high school students are familiar. We discussed scenarios in which people would be able to record every moment of their lives, scenarios in which human beings would be able to rate one another in the same way in which we currently rate restaurants and Uber drivers, and scenarios in which which people would know how long relationships would last as soon as they started them.
At the end of the class, we returned to one of the questions with which we began: What makes humans human? After considering answers like memory, critical thinking and the fact that we are spiritual beings, consensus formed around the fact that we are able to fall in and out of love, which is funny, ironic and providential given that the Scripture reading that we read in the beginning of class immediately Paul’s often-quoted statement on love.
You know the one: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Another verse, one from 1 John, comes to mind, too. As we start another week at SJPC, I pray that your life will be filled with God’s love.