Sometimes I Just Sits

Is what was important still important? I find myself asking that genre of questions as these days and weeks continue. Have I had my priorities in the right place? Was my faith the kind of foundation that gave me strength to live my life discerned in the calling of God, or was it one more thing in addition to all the other inputs and information and social media platforms that I attended to in my life? There’s a saying: “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” I’m not certain I balanced my days with “and sometimes I just sits.” While I’m not big on labels and boxes, I also know that broad categories can be helpful for understanding ourselves and how we work as self and in relationship to others. I’ve taken a ton of the tests over the years that are meant to give some perspective on where you might find yourself and why, and what is distressing to your particular way of being in life. They are helpful and not so much depending on the day I think. What I know is that my mind doesn’t rest much about anything. For me there’s not a value judgment to that, but rather an awareness that if that’s the case, part of the journey of my faith is to find/make/create the space to intentionally have that brain break. Maybe to let God get a word in edgewise?

One, if not theee, favorite classes I had at K-State was “The Works and Life of William Shakespeare.” Before you turn up your nose at my geekiness, please know I loved it because the professor was such a great educator. I believe that’s almost always the case – favorite subject, favorite class, favorite educational activity most often has to do with who taught it and the passion they shared for that subject area. Today (Tuesday, May 5) is TEACHER APPRECIATION! So thank you Shakespeare Professor, and Driver’s Ed. Teacher, and Sociology/Psychology teacher turned girls’ basketball coach, and History of America through the Civil War Professor. You have them as well, I know you do! If they’re still living, or maybe even if they’re not, write them a note, say a prayer, open your heart in gratefulness for their willingness to teach you into learning content AND about yourself. Anyway, in the midst of all the Shakespeare folderol was this life-learning, that for most all of Shakespeare’s characters, their greatest strength would also often be their deepest weakness. I think life proves that out to be so. I tend to think about multiple things all the time which works well in juggling getting a lot of different things done with a structure that is mostly my own. The deep weakness is not always prioritizing things in a way that allows for space. I don’t do very well in ordering my thoughts and letting some of them stay silent while another receives the focus. There tends to be a lot of creative clamoring going on, and when it gets to be too much, I usually have a popsicle or, say it together, a bag of Chester cheesecorn.

What’s interesting about this rather surreal time in which we’re living, is how massive the shift is for everyone all at the same time. As I said on Sunday, even though we may be as busy as we ever were, it’s a different kind of busy-ness. That kind of major shift is both conducive to and inviting of our rethinking – because, why not? When much of the everydayness of our lives now isn’t, what better time to think about whether that everydayness is what we intentionally want it to be, or whether we have simply grown used to it and continue to add until there was little space left.

I do not believe that the Genesis story of creation is a scientific explanation of how, I think it is a faith-filled explanation of why. “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” (Gen. 1:1-3, NRSV). God breathes (“a wind from God swept over the waters”) and God speaks (“Let there be light”). God breathes before God speaks – there was space, then there was word; there was formless void and darkness, then there was breath and light. One of my pastor-y colleagues and friends noted that at around minute 48 of last Sunday’s rather long worship, toward the end of the sermon and immediately preceding and moving into communion, there was “pneuma” i.e., vital Spirit/creative force that came over the pond; in Hebrew: “ruach” – the life-breath power/wind of God. Was it a visible affirmation of the consecration of Holy Communion as a sacred moment in that place at that time? I mean it is Kansas and the wind blows . . . and yet. Maybe the meteorological explanation isn’t opposite or dismissive of the faith-based observance, maybe it’s yes/and, not either/or. And maybe, just maybe that’s a part of the learning for us/me in these reflective moments of our reality turned sideways right now.

God does work for all God’s beloved children in whose life in every place and every time God joyfully breathed and spoke. And I have no doubt God is working for us now, each of us as individuals and all of us together as a human family. Our invitation is to receive God’s word and work however it comes to us. If that means taking stock of where we’ve been, where we are, and moving toward where God has to lead us – toward the familiar or toward that which we’ve never dreamed, or both – then amen to that – even if it means change in perspective, in choice, in understanding of self and world. I hope and moreso pray, that we, and let me own this, I, have the courage to hear, to respond, and to follow, wherever that pneuma/ruach nudges, urges, and leads both believing and knowing, that Spirit and breath brings new life!

The pond was great, the upper-room saturated with generations of exploring students was great, the labyrinth was great . . . AND! This week we are back in the Celebration Center at Grace to prepare worship for next Sunday. There will be 10 or less of us in that familiar room to receive with you the blessing of God, which has and continues to reach out in this community of faith called Grace! In its own way it will make your clergy and worship team miss you that much more, and in other ways the familiarity will bring us all, I pray you included, some needed comfort and peace.

The video I’m including today is a “fairytale” that in poetic form captures my hope for us as the human family. Please, please, please watch it. I find it to be so very true, clear, and in it’s own way, so hope-FULL for us.