I wonder if anyone else finds themselves wondering at times which day it is, or even having to remind themselves as I did this morning that this year is 2022, I started to write the date in my paper diary and went to write 27th April 2020. I seem to have lost 2 years! My grandson is 2, and I have loved seeing him develop and grow over these last two years to the wonderful chatterbox he now is. but have also reflected with my daughter that he has grown up, like so many with the strange lack of socialisation enforced by Covid-lockdowns.
Like so many I have not travelled much over the last 2 years, I have only visited the city centre twice, my habits have changed in many ways, and while I want to reclaim some, like swimming regularly, I am not interested in reclaiming others, I would rather go for a walk than go out for lunch for example, it’s cheaper too.
That got me wondering if my faith has also changed in unexpected ways over the last two years. When the first lockdown came and our church buildings closed some of us were a bit lost for a while, I know I adopted livestreaming quite early on, and the shape of church changed, but how about God. A lot of people are now writing about their experience of church online, which has brought a different dynamic to our meetings, opening them up to a wider audience and the formation of new groups. We have had discussions about online communion, and while I have always been an advocate of this, believing that God definitely transcends the internet, I know that others have struggled. Some people are now very happy worshipping online, which is in real life, because they are alive and participating, while others aren’t.
But what about God? Where do we find them on our journey of faith today? A friend was wondering this as he draws close to the end of his sabbatical where he has spent time looking at sacred spaces, (you can find Ian’s blog here, ) his musings this morning led him to these thoughts:
If we seek God more, we might worry less about how we keep churches going… and maybe we just need to stop and rejoice in what God is doing with us rather than the things we needn’t do – discuss!
He then posted a quote from Oscar Romero:
“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”
We cannot do everything! Over the last year my struggles with both physical and mental health have forced me to recognise this in a new way, I knew it of course, but I didn’t often live it out, it is so easy to say yes! To begin with I was really annoyed with my unhealthy state, I wanted to be out and doing, but over the last few months I have slowed down, I have read a number of books, I have filled 3 journals and I have established a regular devotional time. All these of course are things I would say that I should be doing anyway, and while I tried to squeeze them in, life often squeezed them out, and then I would feel guilty, and end up running on empty! The difference is now that I want to spend time reading playing and reflecting, I want to seek God again, and that is my priority.
So, if seeking God is going to be my new way of being I will have to add the word no back into my vocabulary! My grandson is a good role model here, he says and means no! I don’t recall Scripture recording Jesus saying no very often, he was even persuaded to praise the faith of the Syrophoenician woman, and heal her daughter! He did however take time out to pray, and to simply be, was it easier for him, no internet, no mobile phone and no cars etc, and yet word got around, and crowds followed him! Making time to seek God was his priority, strange when we also record that he was God, the relationship mattered, Creator, Son and Spirit wanted to spend time together, and we are invited right into that relationship and prayed for, that we might be one as they are one! Goodness what a difference that would make! It might be worth reflecting that Jesus didn’t go everywhere and heal/ teach everyone, and nor can we, but we can be a part of the story, and we can make a difference, but we won’t make a difference by being scattered and stretched. As Romero says, we need to find the something to do really well!
I wonder what I do well, and then I wonder if it is something worth doing, shouldn’t I be out there making a difference, like solving world hunger of creating world peace? ( Good answers if you want to be Miss World apparently!) Well no, but I can be a part of it, starting where I am and choosing how to live with integrity. I can start by loving those around me, by practicing what I preach, by caring for myself so that I can care for others, and that includes taking time out! I can find the one thing that helps me to be the person I believe that God is calling me to be, not someone who is stretched and exhausted.
So today, the 27th April 2022, I want to claim the lessons of the last 2 years, and I want to find that something to do really well, that will be my drop added to the ocean of drops that will make a difference. I pray that you too will find the one thing that makes a difference to you.