Here We Go Again…But How?
By Diane Harpster, Administrative Assistant to the Bishop
My daily drive to and from work is a time of day when I get to enjoy the signs of the seasons in the hills, valleys, and fields along Highway 36 between Fremont and Omaha. Maybe it’s because I celebrated a milestone birthday this year, but it seems that the time between the appearance of the first tender, green shoots of corn and beans in the fields and today’s ready-for-harvest crop has passed awfully quickly this year. The adage “the older you get, the faster times goes” rings pretty true to my experience these days.
I find myself wondering how, as a little girl who loved the freedom and solitude of the farm, summer would stretch out as an almost endless expanse of time for reading, biking and horseback riding, dreaming, creating. And, of course, the chores, which gave a sense of purpose and responsibility to the daily routine.
Today, it takes intentional effort to experience such slow time, as the details of one project, process, or event after another demand attention. There’s just so much to DO. That’s just the way life is. Or is it?
In January, we began, as synod staff, a shared journey of intentional faith formation. As part of our twice-monthly staff meetings, we spend an hour and a half together in silence, in listening for God and one another, in learning new prayer practices. In between meetings, we try out those prayer practices. Then we gather again the next time to share our experiences of the practice; what we’ve heard and discovered, how we are being called into relationship with God. And the hope is that such intentional listening and sharing will shape us in a way of BEING that informs our doing, both individually and as a team.
Doing, going, planning, leading. Maybe we, as individuals and as the church, have that down pretty well. After all, we know that we are gifted and called to serve. “Go, therefore, and make disciples”. Our faith is made known through the things we do, and there’s clearly quite a lot that needs to be done. But if our doing is to spring from a deeper acknowledgement of the gifts God gives and the purposes to which we have been called, then we do well to consider how we do what we do.
Maybe the fact that I’ve noticed the progression of the seasons during my daily drive is a sign of God working in me to slow down and be present, at least in that portion of my day. Time may not slow down, but I can. In a new decade of life, I long for more moments to be infused with awareness of God’s presence and power. I know that longing is a gift from God as well. I long, too, for us as the church together, to pause more often to rest fully in God’s love so that we can hear God’s direction and priorities before we go and do.
Here we go again! As we go forward in another season, how we go can make all the difference. “I have called you by name; you are mine!” (Isaiah 43:1) This is the promise that makes all our doing possible and that reminds us that, whatever the results, it’s who we are that matters most to God. We are Beloved. In baptism, we are named and claimed as children of God. In God, we are enough. We can breathe. We can be. And let God be God, for us and for the world.