Desks and seemingly must-do tasks can run my life.

Maybe you know something about that.

When I look up from the emails and phone calls and clamorous things that need tending, I find that time and energy have zipped by yet again.

So it feels especially crucial to me to get out and spend time with people.  Flesh and blood heart beating people are what center me and my work.

I spent near two hours (where did the time go???) with a woman who has long called RUMC home.  She is one of those members who have given so much to their church and who struggle to get moving early enough to catch the church bus to attend worship and who has seen so much change and who feels increasingly invisible in her church.

Many of her friends have died.  The people she knew and so very importantly, the people who knew her by name are no longer in the pew beside her.  She sang in the choir.  Her husband was an accomplished soloist.  The pictures in her home feature eyes eagerly engaging the world and energy to embrace adventure.

She gracefully shared her sense of grief about her sense of growing invisibility.  That is no small trick.  The hurts of being unseen can fester and erupt in bitterness.  Not so for her.  She cares enough about her church and her pastor to name her heart.  It is honor to be in the company of such a one.

Through her I am blessed.

Often we talk in churches about how vital it is to greet visitors.  I was reminded on Friday how vital it is that we greet each person we encounter in church.  In the body of each beats a heart longing for recognition and acknowledgement.

I talk often of the wonder of parents of young children who go through the considerable challenge of readying all of their charges and themselves for worship.

What my sister in Christ reminded me of is the importance of experiencing wonder and appreciation for each person who goes through the considerable challenge of readying themselves for worship, particularly when bodies are reluctant to move because years have been encountered.

Tomorrow is Rally Sunday.  My prayer is that all feel welcomed and all feel wondrous about our shared call to transformation in Christ.


back to school

Maybe it’s the years of being a student.  Or the years of being a teacher.  Or the years of being a parent.  Or the years of being a pastor.  Whatever it is that conspires to open my pores to new adventures, it is most powerfully present in the fall of the year.

I love this time of year.

At the cabin, the sunlight is a molten gold.  The compunction to gorge on all that is summer loosens, and the time seems precious and sweet, worthy of a still savor.  In the city, it is fun to pass children on their way to school, hands tucked into their parent’s and hearts open to all that awaits in the year to come.  Living as I do with a football maniac, I am regaled by stories of training and games, and our television brings into our home the celebration that is football.

And there is church.  The scurry is on to find Sunday School teachers and the choir commences practicing and as for me and my house, we feature the accordian on Rally Sunday and what could be more festive than that?  It is good for the heart to anticipate reconnecting with kin in Christ.

Today I had my own “back to school” treat.  I gather with a group of amazing colleagues throughout the year.  We gather to share stories and joys and aches and to share in the pleasure of each other’s giftedness.  We have been together, some of us, for some seven years, so the stories of our churches, seminaries, children and lives are known and honored.  Today, after a summer hiatus, we came together. Just laying eyes on such fine folk was juice for my soul.

Somehow, this time of year makes me mindful of the learning I long to do in this classroom called my life.  In each person I encounter, in each moment given, the opportunity to learn about myself, life, and the Holy is offered.

I’m praying I have the sense to take life up on the learning that is offered.  Back to school it is, day by day by day.