The Gospel lesson for Sunday is about Jesus’ first miracle: turning water into wine. Because the theme at Virginia-Highland Church this year is “The Art of God,” we will look at “The Art of Winemaking.” After worship, we will have a little winetasting.
Our church isn’t anything like church was when I was growing up … THANK GOD. I’m really glad, but not everyone is. We were looking at our online reviews recently, and most people apparently think our church deserves five stars, but those who don’t think we deserve only one. Frankly, that doesn’t surprise me at all.
Those who love a faith that challenges tradition, and embraces questions, and drinks wine, and welcomes everyone would love us. Those who value answers and clear boundaries, and know what God looks like, and acts like, and expects of everyone really would not like us. We are lucky one star is as low as they could score us.
I understand. In fact, I am with them. If it were up to me, I’d be part of a church that could take care of me, tell me what to think or believe, and how to behave. It is entirely too much work to keep struggling with all these questions. I’m willing to be a fundamentalist, if only my brain and heart would let me.
Until then, I’m glad to have a safe place to be honest about my doubts and question and fears. It keeps me sane to know that I’m not alone, and it keeps me healthy to have a community of people who aren’t cynical for the sake of being arrogant, intellectual pretenders. These are people who authentically struggle to find what is true and what works for them in their lives. I’m relieved to walk through life with people who want to learn and grow, but are willing to trust and love in the meantime.
My favorite thing about Virginia-Highland Church is that we have managed to live with an openness to questions without becoming cynical or arrogant. Although we are not certain, we still trust, and, in the end, I think that is that faith means. Anything else is presumption.
Rev. Michael Piazza