In the Lectionary

May 9, Easter 6B (John 15:9–17)

What would the insurance-mandated boundary trainings that I’ve attended make of Jesus’ intimacy with his disciples?

Rod came up to me during fellowship time after church. “How are you?” he asked. “Oh, fine,” I said. “No, how are you really?” He wasn’t just being polite. This wasn’t an opener to pave the way to the real question or request. He wanted to know how I was.

About a month earlier I had told my congregation that my marriage was ending. I was devastated, humiliated, and ashamed. Rod was on the board of trustees. I’d come to respect his non-anxious way of leading, the insightful questions he asked, and his sense of humor. I liked his wife and kids. After I told the congregation about my marriage, Rod shared a story about his good friend who was going through something similar. So I turned to Rod and trusted him with the truth. “I’m still sad. But I’m also so, so angry. Sometimes I just want to break things.”

“If you want, you can buy a punching bag at Play It Again Sports. I’ll hang it in your basement. And no one ever needs to know,” Rod said. I never took him up on it, but I was so grateful for the offer.