Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Savoring vs Freezing Special Moments in Time

Last week most of my family spent a week in Ohio visiting family.  It was like a travelling slumber party with Kim and me sleeping on the floor and in tiny beds most of the time.  But with a toddler and baby we knew they would be the ones in control of our family schedule.  It was not a problem to sacrifice sleep for this special family time.

It was the first time Jenny and I co-officiated a wedding.  Rachel is her cousin and I am her uncle who baptized her 32 years ago.  It was a great joy.

This past weekend we spent our last day at our log cabin in Willow.  Just hanging out, reminiscing and laughing.  When it was time to leave we gathered for a prayer and brief sharing.  I did not want that moment to end.  The temptation is to freeze and capture it.  I found myself looking at the faces of those I love, the beauty of God's natural creation, the projects we built.  And I looked deeply.

This was not a time to freeze frame the moment, but rather to savor it.  To simply breathe deeply a sigh of gratitude to God for this season of family life.  When Kim and I leave June 24 the hardest part will be leaving Jenny, Aaron, Isabella, Jeremy, and Ryan.  I so want to capture these moments for some future use.  But now is a time for savoring, appreciating all that God has given us.

The good news for all who following Jesus is that such moments are a foretaste of what is to come.  That such moments will not be fleeting but will be gathered together in one fantastic experience of the fullness of the kingdom of God.  We won't have to savor because we will live in those moments without separation or sadness.

God's kingdom is coming!  And it is here!  Thanks be to God!  Let us savor this!

Grace Always,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rustling of the Spirit

One of the lasting lessons I gleaned from my time with one of my past spiritual directors was when she told me that my job as a pastor was to notice the rustling of the Holy Spirit and then respond.  I have always appreciated this approach which is different from all my efforts to plan ahead for mission and ministry.  In the past I am confident there were times when, in my focus on a plan, I have missed a subtle rustling of the Spirit.

And why the word, rustling?  It conjures up images of an animal's slight movement in the brush, or a breeze that picks up a few fallen leaves.  These are images that require a trained eye to see and to notice.  These are not images like an explosion or loud sound or a tree falling in the woods, images that we cannot help but notice.

The story of Elijah in the cave comes to mind.  God was not in the wind, the fire, or the earthquake.  These are events that capture the eye and mind.  But God was in the still small voice.  Apparently, it is part of the nature of God to speak to us through the small things.  And small things require an attentive mind and eyes that can notice the still small voice or the slight rustling of the Spirit.

I wonder how our United Methodist Church, in all our attempts to reinvent ourselves and reverse the decline, will create space to listen to the still small voice of God?  Perhaps it is even possible that as we deal with our systemic anxiety, we could miss that rustling of the Spirit.  I want to listen and look for any message God is trying to say to us.

Grace Always,