The Calm Before the Storm
The house has been quiet in the morning. For the first summer of our parental lives, our kids have slept in. I drink my coffee in peace. I have savored the summer months for these reasons. For we have not had to rouse and keep after the kids to make sure they have gotten out of bed at the appropriate time, have dressed, and groomed, and gotten breakfast, and packed their backpacks, and have the lunches and so on. The weekly rubric of who needs to be where has been limited. I have enjoyed summer.
Fall rhythms loom, however. Not long till the mornings shed their calm and take up the daily frenzy again. Not long till the rubric of drop-offs and pick-ups and activities becomes its own full-time preoccupation and focus of Holly and I’s communication. Not long till we have to monitor and assist in the daily homework, till we have to revive our atrophied math knowledge in order to function as home tutors. As I anticipate these renewed rhythms I am reminded of how much coordination and consistency it takes to function as a family. It takes a lot, and many of us parents feel like things are barely being held together. I wonder if functioning as a church isn’t similar in many respects.
As we enter another fall, as rhythms and activities pick up, as yearly rhythms proceed such as nomination processes, and budgeting processes, and stewardship season, and Advent, and so on, it takes an awful lot of coordination and consistency. Sometimes the daily and weekly focus is just keeping up, and we don’t have a lot of time to reflect, or adjust, afraid that if we stop spinning plates, they will all fall. But I wonder, if in this calm before the impending storm of a busy fall, if we can ask: “How are we doing as a church?”
How are we doing as a church? What is the measure by which we might answer such a question? Are we doing what we say we do? Are we living in to who we claim to be? Are we doing what we are able to do? These are important questions. These are questions best entertained as a community, which is hard to do as we all have our own personal and or family rhythms to keep up with, in addition to our church rhythms together. But it is worthwhile to entertain.
In many respects, these last couple years have been plodding along in the weekly and seasonal rhythms. There have been little as far as crises or major transitions to navigate; a welcomed reprieve from a season of uncertainty and a couple moves. This is not to say that we haven’t been attending to these big questions in these last couple years. Your leadership/Session has certainly been attentive to these things. There are things we have done, and seen some positive effect from – like attending to our presence on the internet, and making ourselves easier to find, and we have started seeing occasional visitors again. We have moved toward a lay driven home communion plan recently, recognizing my limitations as your part time minister. We have been paying attention, and we have been acting. And yet, it feels time to consider this question: how are we doing as a church?
On August 19th we’ll check in as a church family in one of our “conversations after worship” around this question, and Session will share some of the thoughts and direction we have been discussing and working on. But I encourage you to ponder and reflect on this question: “how are we doing?” And consider, “what are standards by which we might answer that question?”
I know your own lives have their own rhythms that are hard to keep up with, but I hope you will write August 19th on your calendars and be a part of the conversation. And it is important for us to reflect on our choices and priorities even as we become busy keeping up with the steady flow of things to be done.
Grace and Peace,