This week’s blog’s catalyst – touchstone or third thing, if you will – begins with this prayer. This prayer was used to centre a monthly gathering with a group of Brothers who had gathered to continue the work of communication and – specifically – how to share the Good News through social media. The lens through which that conversation has unfolded is, ‘how do we minister to the City of Winnipeg, the place which we call home?’
My initial response to the prayer was being jarred by the last line – before the Amen! I have never thought about God’s movement as unhurried – I admit it. In particular, as I have wrestled to discern what Jesus’ ministry means to me as a person of faith, I have always seen him trying to slow down – you know the going to the mountain scenes to get away from it all – but really never getting there!
I do not think the abruptness I experienced by the prayer creates an either/or, it actually feels like things have deepened. In particular, Jesus’ ministry, life, death and resurrection seem to fulfil the unhurried nature that Richard Foster names: God’s movement is beyond time’s reproach. Within our Sacred Stories, from the Hebrew Scriptures to the New Testament, we’re talking several thousand years of our faith community’s history, give or take … and since then time has just kept on ticking along.
So from here, during my daily running prayer time, I was then struck by ‘so what?’ I have had several responses to that, but the reflection that still resonates is the anecdotal experience from several faith communities when leadership feels challenged to let go and to let those who will follow model discipleship, even if it might be new. In particular, the catch phrase that seems consistent in these places is, ‘we have to keep doing [whatever it is] because no one else will do the work.’ The hurriedness is … perhaps … another idolatry?
This prayer feels like an invitation to let go and for those in leadership that’s pretty hard to do. There is indeed lots of analysis that can be done with this catch phrase I have heard more than once and it is indeed a worthwhile consideration when discerning whether the time to let go has occurred. And I also wonder if it’s self-fulfilling prophecy to not let go – because then any new disciple that might be called to leadership might feel unwelcomed and then withdraw or never be nurtured in the first place. The result, therefore, is often that nothing shifts or move: the status quo is maintained.
Both the prayer and reflection seem to mirror the other. Of what am I called to let go? To what are you holding that might need to be relaxed? And – when we are unable to answer the question – what are we getting in the way of thinking they are problems we need to solve?
While I ponder these, I think I’ll take a deep breath, watch the birds on the feeder and try walking toward a response unhurried ….