Today I had a funeral at 11:00 a.m. I had a careful checklist of details to remember so that the service would go smoothly: turn on sound and fix up microphones, set lecturn Bible to lessons, make sure that the altar is set for communion, practice sermon and make corrections, put out pall for the casket. All of a sudden at 10:40, I noticed that the organist wasn't here yet! What?! I had just corresponded with him by e-mail, and suddenly I had the thought: yeah, but how do I know that he really did got that information about today? I dialed his cell phone -- and about 2 minutes later he walked in the door.
"Don't doubt me!' he said. "I'm always here!" This is true, but I explained that it wasn't him that I was doubting; it was email; it's a great modern convenience; sometimes I don't know what I would do without it. And yet, there have been a couple of times when someone has said, "What email?"
The truth is, though: it's not just email I doubt. There's a reason that the Youth Easter Sunrise Service caused me the most anxiety of any worship service over the entire year. It's because I did not have absolute and total control over everything that happened, including whether everyone would show up at sunrise. They always did. But still, I didn't sleep well the evening before Easter. O me of little faith.
My work requires me to work in partnership with other staff and with lay leaders on a variety of projects: worship, Bible study, service projects, youth. I know incredibly gifted people who bring gifts I don't possess. I feel privileged to serve with creative people, good organizers, great cooks, compassionate visitors, insightful Bible study participants and co-leaders. And I am also plagued with doubts: what if the communion servers don't show up? What if the microphones don't get turned on? What if the the visitors don't do their calls? What if....? well, you get the picture.
Of course, every once in awhile, something crashes and burns. But more often than not, everyone, including me, rises to the occasion. And I can hear my Lord whispering in my ear, "O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Truth is, trust is one of the most essential components of human community, and also one of the hardest to achieve. A few people trust too much and too indiscriminately, but most of us trust others too little. We need each other's opinions, talents, strengths; we even need each other's failures, weaknesses and hesitations. I do think that's true.
And then there is the ultimate trust: the trust that even when life crashes and burns, even when those we counted on don't show up, even when we don't show up for someone else, God raises us up, heals us and calls us again, saying, "follow me.'