Because I forget

I had barely begun my nine mile run, and I could already feel the arch of my foot becoming tender.  Every step on the pavement was singularly focused on this itty bitty part of my anatomy.  It became more painful around mile 3, at which point I cut my route short and headed back to my car.  Perhaps you saw the really tall lady in hot pink shorts kind of limp-running under the 1-10 and muttering curse words under her breath Saturday morning in downtown Tucson?  That was me. I was both frustrated with my body and disappointed over admitting defeat.

It is interesting how for me, running is not just running.  Physical pain or limitations are not just physical.  The emotional, mental, spiritual and, um, therapeutic elements intertwined in a nine mile run are never more obvious than when that running is threatened, or taken away.

Maybe it’s an idol.  Maybe it’s a gift from God.  But suffice it to say I spent a fair amount of time the rest of that Saturday pouting on the couch, awkwardly trying to hold an icepack to the bottom of my foot.

Then, it was time to head to church.  Frantic dinner, hyper kids, make-up thrown on in a rush, empty gas tank, uncooperative foot. Inhale.  Exhale.  Here we are.

The church is in a sermon series that is asking some questions about why The Church gathers.  Why bother?  Why do we need it?  Why does God desire it?

I got some answers.

Earlier that day I had posted something on Facebook about my Poor Unfortunate Foot and no less than four people at church came up and talked to me about it.  People who didn’t  bother to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ on Facebook.  People who would rather approach me, in person.

I saw their faces.  They saw mine.   I heard their insight and questions, not via written text but instead through their unique and beautiful voices.  I shared my frustrations with my hyperbolic ramblings and  facial expressions and arm gestures. One of my pastors even took me aside and showed me some stretches I could try out.   I am knownFrom my COMPLICATED feelings all the way down to the tiniest tendon under my right foot.  I am known. 

Sometimes I forget that.  I forget I am known, and I forget how good it is.

This is why we gather.

Time to sit in our chairs now, the service is beginning.  The words “Desperate for Distraction” show on the screen up in front of the Sanctuary, flashing for only a moment in the midst of a short video clip, but it was enough for my soul to be pierced.   Desperate.  For.  Distraction.  This is how I live.

Let me tell you, it is a heavy burden and a tiring work.

I closed my eyes for the rest of the video and let God lift my face toward Him, and I chose – in that unique moment and yet also for the thousandth time – the living water of Jesus instead of the broken cisterns that somehow always seem just fine and satisfying during the week.

And it was good.

And easy.

And light.

I keep forgetting.

This is why we gather. 

It is interesting how in the Old Testament God is pretty darn particular about the Isrealites doing these 2 things; offering sacrifices and gathering to remember.  Remember the Passover.  Remember the Sabbath.

And then…Christ…our atonement once for all.  And God in the New Testament is now quite particular that our need for sacrifice is over with.  OVAH!  Forget about all those lambs and goats and blood.  Hallelujah.   But being together, remembering together, this is NOT over.  Why not?

Why can’t this be forsaken as well, it’s not like my fellow Gentile Christians and myself celebrate the Passover.  Why can’t I just stay home and listen to a podcast?

Because.  Because I need to hear your voice and see your empathetic face while I narrate my running problems and I need to watch that video clip and sit next to you while you sing and let you hear me sing (louder and louder..actually sorry about that!) and hear you say Amen from the back of the building and be touched by how your ministry is caring for special needs people and teach me from the bible and teach me from your life.

Because I can witness the joy in your eyes at having your daughter home for a few days, because you asked me to pray for you, because your baby just gets bigger and cuter every time I see her.

Because I needed that Christian stock video clip and your kindness and your touch and your words to help me worship, to love me, to pierce me, to remind me.

Because I keep forgetting. 

This is why we gather. 

And then these people who I love stand up there with guitars and its a song we sing a lot and on the radio a lot and blah blah blah.

But somehow through this song I am taken back to my morning run.  In all the attention I was giving my frustration and my foot, I missed celebrating how lovely and cool the morning was.  The calm and quiet of the university campus.  The brilliant southwest colors that paint Downtown.  The mountains and all the glory of el amanecer sobre el desierto.  I close my eyes and am given an opportunity, a second chance, to go back and see what you wanted to give me, that I wasn’t willing to receive at that time.

To give to you now what I couldn’t, at least not on my own, earlier that day.  Bless the Lord, oh my Soul!

Week by week by week by week.

I keep forgetting.

That is why we gather. 


4 thoughts on “Because I forget

  1. patti Cepin

    Oh Kirsten, again for your eyes that see and your voice that gives me eyes to see what God has revealed to you, thank you.
    Beautiful because I too keep forgetting.

    Patti cepin


  2. Kendra

    This do in remembrance of me… Maybe not just the breaking of bread but the communing as well? Wow. Thank you for your insightful words. Love your writing gift!


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