Skip to main content

What about my friend? (Ask a Pastor)

Dear Pastor-
I like to go to church on Easter. I can't get there all the time, but Easter means something to me. I also have a beloved who isn't really churchy. I feel torn between spending time with my beloved on Easter morning or going to church. What should I do? 
A Few Times a Year is Better Than No Times.

Thank you for writing. I'm always glad to see you whenever you come. God sees you all the time. 
I appreciate your dilemma for Easter. I hear you saying that resurrection celebration is meaningful to you, but that the leisure time or the opportunity to start traditions with your beloved is also important. Both of those things are part of the Spirit's presence in your life. 
First, I encourage you to be true to yourself. Do not do something or make a choice, in the expectation that your beloved will reward the behavior or love you more. That kind of expectation isn't fair to anyone. 
If attending a service is important to you, own that reality. You are free to invite your beloved to join you, but your beloved is equally free to accept or decline the invitation without it being a reflection of how they truly feel about you. 
Neither of you is free to manipulate (overtly or covertly) the other with your emotions, coercion, or threats. 
If your beloved agrees, freely, to accompany you, know that you are not responsible for their experience. Other than giving some basic directions (hymnal use, stand/sit, where's the bathroom), their reaction to the service is not a reflection of their feelings about you. It may be about their own faith, doubts, experience, hope, or history. 
If your beloved declines to attend, accept their choice. Make a plan for what you would like to do together after you return from church. You will not be the only person in a service who loves someone who isn't there on Easter morning. That's okay. 
You can live a faithful and hopeful witness by doing what is important to you without resentment toward your beloved for their actions or resentment toward your faith for how it compels you. 
I hope to see you in one of our Easter services. If it turns out that resurrection joy is celebrated in your community through a breakfast you're hosting or a hike or something else, I hope to see you soon at a different service (Easter is a season). 
Pastor Julia


Popular posts from this blog

I am not afraid. I am heartbroken.

I live in Montana, a state with a very low number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases. Even more specifically, my county has not as yet had any cases. This passover is both a blessing and a curse because it divides the community, with some of our citizens feeling as though we have been spared because we have been careful and others suspecting that our precautions were "sound and fury, signifying nothing". (Macbeth)

Now we have the ever-present questions about what we can do, what we should do, and from what should we abstain. In the conversations around masks, distance, and open v. close, the word "fear" gets bandied about. It is murmured that people who are cautious are "fearful" or being led by fear, as opposed to faithfulness or freedom.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. As a mother, as a wife, as a sister, as a friend, as a pastor, as a neighbor, as a daughter, as a citizen, I am not afraid. I am heartbroken.

My heart broke when I post…

Christmas or Easter?

I have a problem. 
It is my problem and it doesn’t have to be yours, but I need to talk about it.
I want Christmas to be as important theologically as Easter is. 
I know that you probably think they are and, thus, my problem isn’t really a problem 
Hear me out. Please. 
I think Christmas is very important theologically, but between commercialism and problematic thinking about God, we have lost sight of how to understand Christmas. 
Easter is also important, but between commercialism and problematic thinking about God, we have lost sight of how to understand Easter. 
I cannot do much about commercialism. (I can remind you about the sin of idolatry.) 
I can try, with the Spirit’s help, to do something about problematic thinking about God. 

First things first: Jesus was always going to be born. 
We learn in John 1 that the Trinity has always existed as the Trinity- meaning there has always been One God with Thee Persons- co-equal and of the same substance. 
We learn in Philippians 2 and Colossians …

Let's Be Honest about Grief

Grief is a weird thing. Some people are able to push through and they think everyone can, if they want to. Some people are paralyzed and it's confusing to them how the world even thinks they can function.

Most people manage to find their basic new level of functioning (because grief inaugurates a whole new era), but that functioning waxes and wanes. All of this is normal.

There's a tiny moment of acknowledging what grief is like in Frozen 2. It passes fairly quickly in a song, but it was true enough that I wanted to call out, "WAIT! Anna is telling us something real."

Elsa (the blonde one) has gone off on a quest, which has unexpected results. The consequences of this (SPOILER) is that Olaf (the snowman) disappears. Kristof missed the women's departure and he is searching for them, lamenting that he hasn't fully expressed his feelings to Anna. Thus, Anna is alone and she can perceive that something not good has happened. Olaf's disappearance means someth…