One set of breadcrumbs has run out!
About a month ago I could feel that my commitment to reflect on the lectionary was feeling a little forced. Eight months ago I committed to tease out this vision thing through the lens of our weekly lectionary texts. That has been a wonderfully grounding way for me to engage in this period of listening. Rather than settling into my writing chair with an already established agenda, the lectionary has provided me a way to listen for God’s subtle voice rather than pushing already decided agendas.
Most weeks I have been wonderfully surprised how my conversations with the lectionary and my conversations with congregations have overlapped and mutually fed into each other. I think back to just three weeks ago when the lectionary focused on Jesus’ warning to the Pharisees to not confuse human tradition with God’s commandments. At the time I was processing the whole “To robe or not to robe” on Sundays as I have moved from church to church with their different traditions and practices. It gave me an opportunity reflect on the lectionary and on my experiences at the same time.
But increasingly now I am finding that I have more to say than the lectionary affords. While the lectionary provided a good foundation from which to work it is now starting to get in the way. I don’t mean that scripture is getting in the way—just the prescribed lectionary. What I mean is that what I think God has for me to say doesn’t always fit with what our common lectionary nudges me to say in a given week. I have discoveries from my time with you and from my conversations with mutual colleagues who are wrestling with the same kinds of questions and challenges. The list of potential blog topics is growing faster than the opportunities I have to share those topics with you.
Which, by the way, is good news!
If I spent the first ten months of my time listening to you and for God’s voice, it feels now like we are moving into a time where I have as much to say as you do. I hope you know that I will never be a person who talks so much that I can’t hear you. I think the staff in the presbytery office will confirm that I am a listener first and a proclaimer second—which fit my style as a weekly preacher. I used to tell the churches I served that a good fifteen-minute sermon took about eight hours to pull off—seven hours to listen, one hour to write and fifteen minutes to preach! I only slightly exaggerate.
I have used the image of holy breadcrumbs to guide our way through this time. For eight months the lectionary was calling me as a way to ground this listening period and make sure that I wasn’t going off on some rabbit trail. I am enough of a preacher and a Presbyterian to know that I will still return to the lectionary from time to time. But other topics are now calling. The holy breadcrumbs seem to be leading me to share less my reflections on the lectionary and more on our discoveries as we embark together on this ecclesiastical pilgrimage into God’s unknown future.
There is a method to my madness (as the saying goes). In this anxious time there can be two mistakes—either not moving quickly enough or moving too quickly. I am hoping that I have kept a good balance—listening first, visioning second. I do love the lectionary, but I will leave it to our preachers to focus on that spiritual discipline.
I don’t know where the holy breadcrumbs will take us, but I do know that it is time for a shift. Lectionary and listening were paramount in this first stage. Now it’s time to tease out a vision. Now it’s time to take another step into our emerging future. Here is a glimpse of where my head and heart are taking us.
Upcoming Blogs Topics (stuff I am thinking about!)
Self-Care and Spiritual Practices in a Time of Anxiety
Churches and the Affordable Housing Crisis
Following the Energy (translated: Trusting the Holy Spirit)
Joining Others in “Repairing” the World
The Parable of the University of Colorado Campus
Why I Say, “Teasing Out a Vision”