Having finally sat down to write a blog post, I was shocked to realize it had been two months since my last post. Writing has always been a source of pleasure, joy, and learning for me – a way to reflect on the happenings of life in light of my faith and Holy Scripture. Blogging for me is akin to preaching and spiritual direction: an exercise in translating our daily, seemingly secular life into the sacred. Nearly weekly postings for most of my ministry has been an outlet for me and a ministry to many others.
As I contemplated why there was such a big gap this summer, two theories percolated. One was the more obvious. I took some time for vacation, we were searching for and then training a new staff member, I was a part of a bishop’s search (which some argue is like a second full-time job), I was tending my family in a pandemic, I was investing time in continuing education, and I was trying to serve my beloved parish. My plate was quite obviously full.
But the second, perhaps more revealing reason came to me through scripture. I was reminding of that familiar passage from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3: For everything there is a season.[i] Honestly, I think more people are familiar with this passage through The Byrd’s song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” This summer has felt like a different season for me. Instead of writing about life around us and interpreting it in light of our faith, I spent the summer doing that work orally with two faith communities – talking through what God is doing in the Church, what God has done through us in this time of pandemic, where the Church is going, and who Jesus is calling all of us to be. In some ways those conversations have been very similar in content to what I write. But experientially, it was significantly more vulnerable. Instead of hiding behind the written word, I was engaging in deep, hard, thoughtful conversations in real time, being probed, questioned, and challenged – and all of that experience being broadcast in recorded and live videos for anyone and everyone to see. I described it to a dear friend as a time of feeling naked before the world.
This summer has been a season for discernment, for deep reflection, for vulnerable pondering. And just like the scripture writer says, for everything there is a season: a time to plant, a time to break down, a time to laugh and dance, a time to embrace, a time to seek and a time to lose, a time to speak, and a time to love. Now, I enter into another season: a time to reconnect with the Hickory Neck community that loved me through this process – even though it was difficult for them. A time to write again: about where we see God in the midst of this season of pandemic that we wish were over. A time to dream and a time to innovate: about where God is calling us now. A time to laugh, dance, and embrace: even if we have to go back to doing that all virtually. No matter what the season, God is with us. I’m honored to journey in this season with you.
[i] Ecclesiastes 3.1-8 reads: For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.