I went to church for the sermon, because Christine and Lisa are so different in both style and substance. Since Lisa is a presbyter, she doesn’t preach as often as Christine, so it’s fun to show up and not know who I’ll be hearing. You just cannot compare the two. One fills her sermons with laughter, the other fills her sermons with the feeling that something is happening in this place when it is quiet and serene and listening intensely.
When Christine preaches, the congregation is right with her, laughing right up until the moment it clicks in our heads the picture of pain she’s trying to express. There is a light bulb, and sometimes an audible gasp at people’s recognition. I am amazed at her ability to draw in the crowd bit by bit, so that they slowly reveal their feelings about themselves in their minds because who is afraid of a little self-degrading humor? Working for the remission of sins is ridiculous, because we’re never going to have a world where sin is erased. The best we can do is laugh about it so that the next week it hurts a little less.
Before the service, I saw Christine as she was about to go in. I said, “I brought my notebook so I could think.” She says, “well if you like that, this is a good sermon. Most of the time, I’m just like, “Bah Dum Pum………. Jesus!” I laughed so hard I had to strain myself from coming unglued on the sidewalk, just snot and tears everywhere. I thought of my Dad and how he’s going to spit something on his keyboard when he gets to that line.
When Lisa preaches, the entire room is so quiet you could hear a pin drop. She takes you to emotional places inside yourself that you didn’t know you had, because she’s just that kind of writer. She holds the congregation in the palm of her hand by speaking quietly so that you have to lean in to hear every detail, and you want to because she slowly unpacks, detail by detail, until all of the puzzle pieces drop together.
Because I was writing down an outline of her thoughts, my brain was making connections like a supercomputer, and five seconds before she got to the “punchline,” a very serious conclusion, I might add, you will be able to hear me audibly gasp in the recording. When she was finished, Dana and I looked at each other like, “HOLY SHIT, BATMAN!” We fist-bumped and said, “Mic drop.”
I would like to think that I am a combination of their styles, and it’s interesting that I have the opportunity to study two women who come at ministry completely differently and merge their styles in an amazing way. It is preparing our way into Christ’s birth in a wonderful way- two different perspectives that come together in our midst.
I mean, I got out of bed even though I had a head cold because I couldn’t stand not hearing either one of them. I gave up sleeping late to go to church, people… even though I was so out of it that when the sermon was over, I realized how many people I did not want to infect. Communion is the gift that keeps on giving, but hopefully not like that.
Bah Dum Pum………………………. JESUS!
To hear Lisa and Christine every week, you can subscribe via Epiphany’s podcast feed, which is a great way to feel like you have time to go to church in your car. I invite you to show up sometime if you’re local, even if you don’t believe in God.
Because what matters, ultimately, is the way you use light to believe in yourself.