And to be completely honest, I can't lie...I was a little nervous about the idea of going to church again. I loved both churches I grew up in, both small, super-conservative, ultra-Fundamentalist, community churches. I'd gotten a lot more liberal since I was eighteen - I voted for Obama, I'd had an extramarital relationship (two, actually) and I'd been divorced, I was pro-choice, anti Focus On The Family, cursed, drank beer, had played D & D (my mother had been convinced roleplaying games were evil all because some mentally unbalanced gamer couldn't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, as played by Tom Hanks.) For Pete's sake, I had actually crocheted Natalie a giant pink penis. The fifteen or sixteen year old version of me is horrified.
I'm way cooler than I was as at fifteen, though. Trust me.
The church that my husband had found, after doing some research on Google, is a missional church, he informed me. The best way that I can explain it is that we live our lives the way that Christ would have, and it's a good fit for those who are jaded by traditional church culture. And that rang particularly true for both of us.
So off we went, to Pima & Cloverland, for a Sunday evening Vespers service.
Since then, I haven't looked back.
I'm not writing about Missional Christianity, though. This post is about my friend Emily.
At church, we have a dance floor off to the side, and if she's feeling up to it (she has both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome), she will get up and dance, wave her scarf from side to side, lift her arms over her head beseechingly to Jesus and dance like there is no one else in the world around but her. I have to have a few beers in me to have that lack of self consciousness that Emily possesses naturally.
Over the past year that I've gotten to know her better, I can tell what kind of day it's been for her pain-wise going off of the colors that she has on. If it's a good day, it's something bright and vibrant. Maybe something in red or purple. Or if it's a bad pain day, something a little bit darker. Green, maybe something with a little brown in it.
If it's a good day, you'll see her sitting cross-legged in a chair or a couch (yes, it's THAT kind of church) taking notes or working on her homework for Pilgrim group.
If it's a bad day, she's in the back of the church, stretched out across one of the big couches, covered up by a blanket because that's the only way she can be comfortable.
Even through her pain, I see her rejoice.
Every time she dances, it's for God.
When she dances, she's talking to God.
It's Emily's own special way of praying.
Without any words, with the practiced, fluid motions of a trained ballerina she gives grace and thanks to God.