Hi everyone, I’m Dominic. I’m delighted to get to testify today because I lately just know UVC through small groups. See, I’m a Roman Catholic. Not a recovering Catholic and also not a content Catholic, but a Catholic nonetheless. So I was amused to see in Pastor Emily’s testimony directions, “Don't diss directly on other churches… don't say things like ‘Roman Catholics don't understand.’ ”
Well, today I would like to testify about two things I as a Roman Catholic don’t understand, namely, “How do you small group,” and Jesus. See, for me most naturally, church and God are big and powerful. They are Sunday masses and church boards. They are God, the Father, the Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth. For me most naturally, they are not intimate gatherings or this brilliant nutcase of a friend we have in Jesus.
So small groups are not my specialty. I am not good at talking in them. Which feels weird, because in meetings about budgets and decisions and such I won’t shut up. Still, I’ve done four small groups here, so something must be working. Spoiler alert, that something, or someONE, is Jesus.
For, in small groups, what’s on the table, besides wine and popcorn, are people -- usually from the Bible, and always each other. We’ll read passages from the Bible, about, let’s say, Mary, and Erin or Ellie or someone will ask the group say, “Ok, who do you imagine she’s like here?” And frankly, I don’t naturally have an imagination about people in the bible. I can offer an account, one account, the account I presumably get from sermons and school and my parents, bless them. But I was continually surprised by fellow group members’ imaginations of people from the Bible -- by how Mary, for instance, might have been less a vessel for an omnipotent God, more a badass quirky victor over doubters, authorities, family, and so on.
And more immediately, I was continually surprised by fellow group members. I know of course that MY life makes no sense -- one day I am scampering around the neighborhood getting elected president of something, the next day I am vomiting like a cat and trying to remember to make myself an appointment with the vet -- er, doctor. Yet small groups have a way of reminding me that everyone else is as ridiculous as I am. So church is a place for my whole self -- the part that has it together and the part that doesn’t. The part of me that is Roman and the part of me that is Catholic, so to speak.
And this is the me that is not only loved deeply by God, but liked and cheered on and heard by Jesus. And whether or not I make sense of this, whether or not I understand it, I can testify that it is real, that it takes human flesh through the presence of a half-dozen fellow Christians huddled over wine and popcorn and the bible, with Jesus, as Jesus. Thanks, UVC.
[my name] at yahoo dot com