Dear friends…

Many of you know about my love of technical things. This began in my childhood when my father brought home the first (we think) home computer in our neighborhood. This amazing Apple computer sported not one but two 5¼” floppy disk drives, though I lamented that the attached screen was only two colors: black and green.

This led indirectly to a career in technology where I worked as a Software Integration Engineer for a major Southern California corporation before striking out on my own as a freelance software support contractor. Even if you don’t know this history, you may know that I love my iPhone and Apple Watch, that I enjoy working on websites, and that I seek out ways to use digital communication tools to communicate faith, hope, and love.

I am – in a word – a geek.

With all this in mind, it is likely of no surprise that my favorite car these days is made by Tesla. If you’re unfamiliar with Tesla’s vehicles, they are fully electric and are paving the way in autonomous driving in the hopes of developing fully self-driving vehicles in the coming years. Indeed, the most recent Teslas have all the hardware necessary and it is only the software component that is still in need of further refining (and of course legal and regulatory requirements).

Recently, I had the opportunity to test drive a Tesla Model S. I chose this model not because I’m considering purchasing one (they’re way above our price range), but because the new-to-market Model 3 is of similar size – and dramatically more affordable.

The test period began with a walk around the vehicle and the opportunity to learn more about the technology, the cameras, the controls, and the look/feel of the car. Then they let me get in and drive! And almost immediately after getting onto public streets, I was encouraged to test the “performance capabilities” of the car. In other words, go fast!

It was an amazing experience! I felt this sense of elation combined with a little bit of fear as this powerful car rocketed forward along the street. And then there was more…

Once we were on the nearby freeway, I was encouraged to enable Autopilot, the driver assist module built into the vehicle. I did so, anticipating the car to maintain speed and relative distance to other vehicles but also to steer through some upcoming turns in the roadway. Keeping my hands loosely on the steering wheel, I could see the upcoming curve and was again filled with both elation and fear as the car easily followed, even slowing a bit as traffic ahead congested, and then speeding up again once lanes were clear. What an intense experience!

I understand that we’re not all “geeks,” and that we’re not all “car people.” But I hope you can see from this story that we likely all have those experiences that fill us with that sense of elation and intense joy. For some it may be rock climbing; for others something music-related; for others parenting or caretaking; and so many more.

What is it that makes us experience that sense of elation in our faith? For me, this can happen when I’m reading the Bible or a theological book where I am made aware of a new way to think about God. It can happen in the middle of a sermon just as we arrive together at the main point. It can happen in one-on-one conversations about God and about unique calls to ministry.

In your faith, what is it that gives you that feeling of elation, even if it’s sometimes accompanied by fear? What is it that puts you on the edge of control over your faith? And how can you give up more of that control to God? Prayerfully consider how we are given the opportunity to get uncomfortable in our faith, and to move forward in trust and in love toward the elation made available to us through Jesus Christ.

May we continue to know joy and hope and light and peace, and know them in the elation of love.

Pastor Bob