Unforced rhythms- walking gently

First weekend in July and the weather is matching my mood, instead of sunshine I am watching the rain falling and the trees are bending in the wind. It is my day off, and quite often on a day off, whatever the weather I head out to the Peak District with my camera, but today I am too tired for that, not physically tired, which would probably be a good thing, but emotionally and mentally tired, oh yes and probably if I pause to admit it spiritually tired too.

Usually I revel in time alone, I am an introvert and crave space to be, crave time with books and in my garden, but even I have to admit that after 15 weeks of lockdown and social distancing that enough is enough. Even with eased restrictions I have only welcomed 3 people into my home over the last 3 months ( not counting the ambulance crew who were wonderful as they transported me to my recent stay in hospital). In the last 3 months I have not touched another human being, and have only been touched for blood tests and medical examinations. I also know that I was fortunate that my stay in hospital was not long, I did not need oxygen or any invasive measures such as ventilation, the only intervention I needed was a drip to rehydrate me and painkillers to allow me to rest, and I am home recovering still, but home. I am doubly fortunate for I am well supported, people went shopping for me and I have been inundated with cards, gifts and messages. So please do hear that I am thankful and blessed.

I am thankful and blessed but weary. I am bone weary when I wake up in the morning to another day that looks like the day before, I try to create myself a routine, and there are days where pre-arranged meetings help with that, but there are days, like today when all of that goes out of the window. I try to be creative, sometimes I am and can be, at others I simply can’t and the day slips by and I feel that it is wasted. I remind myself that there are still people struggling, still wars being fought, still injustices being carried out, and that I have a voice, and I will and do, bit it seems so empty from my comfortable kitchen diner where I am safe but separate…

So how does my faith speak to me at this point in time, a point when I am receiving phone calls about when we will open our church buildings and the enormity of the task weighs heavy, and I cannot muster the energy to think about it…

I turn both to Scripture and to our Methodist Covenant Prayer, a prayer that contains the words “Let me laid aside for you…” and while the busyness of Zoom meetings and keeping on keeping on is still rolling around me, I very much feel that this is where I am. I am laid aside from the “normal”, I knew where I was and now I don’t. Our President of Conference, Reverend Richard Teal, pointed us to Bruggemann and his wonderful book Psalms of Life and Faith, and the pattern of orientation, disorientation and reorientation…

Perhaps we cannot re-orientate and that seems to be the demand, until we have unwrapped and pondered the gifts and challenges of disorientation and the questions, deep questions it asks of our humanity and purpose.

Let me be laid aside for you, I roll the words of our Covenant Prayer around in my mind, are we really crazy enough to pray that year after year? If so perhaps we can expect to meet God in our laid asideness when it happens, perhaps we can find here a gift, asking what is the Spirit saying? This is highlighted for me because I am in what we call “the invitations process” a point in my ministry here in Sheffield where the circuit, the churches and I discern together whether I should stay or go.

Let me be laid aside, from here I find myself asking what it is that I am called to, and it is here that I encounter the frustrated Jesus, who dealing with what crowds don’t see, the dead raised the lame healed etc, the kin(g)dom come close, God at work. The Jesus who turns to prayer and in compassion cries out “Come to me”…

I love the rendition of the passage from The Message Version:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Yes, yes I am tired and worn out, though laid aside, and I long to find, to re-orientate myself in your rhythms of grace…

But wait, the penny drops, I cannot do that, my response can only be to respond to your invitation to walk and work with you, my work is to watch how you do it, and not to ask how I should, not right now, right now I need to learn.

So I commit myself to that learning, to watching, to praying and trusting, to taking one step at a time when I am able and not worrying about those times when a step seems to much. I will respond to the invitation, to the offers of help from others, to the working and walking gently with Christ and with others along this strange path into a new and probably strange future.

One step at a time, so:

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord,

moving on,

letting go,

stepping out,

carrying the wisdom

I have gained…

+

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord,

may I be

rooted in love

yet uprooted,

following,

learning,

changing,

transformed and

transforming…

+

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord,

to a new

place of being,

living with tensions,

with questions,

with confidence, and

doubting…

+

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord, for

I cannot

move without you

where could I go

unless you

go before me,

unless you are with me…

+

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord,

equip and guide me

help me Lord, for I would

be your disciple,

a channel of your love…

+

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord,

help me to hear your voice,

dance to your heartbeat

and place my footsteps into

yours…

+

As I take one more step

Go with me Lord,

but more than that

help me to go with you…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

About Sally C

How do I describe myself, I am not what I do, (I am a Methodist Minister), I am not who I am related to (I have 5 wonderful children, 2 lovely granddaughters and a grandson). I am a seeker truth, a partaker of life in all it's fullness and a follower, sometimes stumbling, sometimes celebrating of the Christian pathway. I seek wholeness, joy and a connectedness to all things through a deep reconciliation with the God whose love blows my socks off!
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