Wednesday Word: Perspective
My good friend Jane Schmoetzer, rector of All Saints in Richland, WA, is currently on a well-deserved sabbatical. She called me up one day while putting the details together and said, “How would you like a guest preacher as a Father's Day present?”
I said, “Of course!” She and her husband, Bruce, will arrive in Hagerstown this Friday and she will be preaching this coming Sunday, Father's Day.
All of that to say that, because of her gift, I have some extra time on my hands where I'm not preparing a sermon. Since I had all that free time this week, I decided I needed to rearrange my office bookshelf. This isn't just an exercise to kill time, but is a much needed reorganization so I can find what I'm looking for. A week or two ago I spent longer than I should have locating a book. It occurred to me then that I needed to file my books by title, rather than by author. For instance, I might know I need to pull a quote from A Table in the Desert, but I won't necessarily remember that Paul Jones was the author. So I made the switch.
It was hard work. It was hot. It took a full three hours. My knees and back were both sore. But when I finished, I had a new system that should . . . should . . . cut down on my search time. And after years of the old by-author way of filing books, it gives me a new perspective.
Sort of like our relationship with God.
How often do we do things the same way, seeing things as we've always seen them, without realizing we should probably make a change? How often do we see God in the same way, without realizing we should probably change how we view God?
I'm not talking about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic here. I'm talking about making substantial changes. Changes that will take hard work. Changes that might be uncomfortable. Changes that take time to accomplish. Changes that make you sore, but sore in a way that you know you've done some good, hard work.
What might those changes look like? We could start with Sunday worship. Is Sunday worship just one of many activities you have the option of attending, or is Sunday worship a priority in your life that takes precedence over all other activities? Are you willing to sit with God in the quiet of Daily Evening Prayer? And it's not just worship. We have a variety of opportunities to serve and participate in this parish. Vestry, commissions, choir, Sunday school teachers, nursery attendants, gardening, offering rides for those unable to drive, monetary pledging, Community Cafe, Bester School, Micah's backpack, these and others give you an opportunity to experience God and church in a new way.
It doesn't even have to be about church, per se. In looking to find God in different places, what if you began honestly evaluating where you have fallen short (sinned) and made an intentional effort to repent? What if you made a greater effort to see Christ in all persons, respecting the dignity of all people by avoiding derogatory posts on Facebook?
This will be hard work. This will take a long time. This might make you sore. This will probably be uncomfortable. This could change your perspective. And it just might change how you view God.