Le temps est venu de lancer ce à la vitesse supérieure ...

At the end of a long, full and productive day, I am aware that the more I wrestle with my own mortality and that of those I cherish, the less tolerance I have for bullshit of any degree. After an organizing convention, I shared drinks with a younger colleague. It was a good time to debrief and check in about our respective ministries. Driving home I realized a few current truths within my soul:

+ There are only a very few things that really energize me: 1) spending time with Dianne, 2) making time to enjoy and honor my children and grandchildren; 3) working with creative and compassionate artists on matters of liturgy and the creative arts so that the lives of the people I serve might be strengthened and enriched; 4) playing with my dog, Luice; 5) nourishing connections with people of any and all faiths in ways that fortify the common good; 6) finding consistent ways to love my small circle of friends;  and 7) improving my skills on the upright bass. It has been said that the closer we encounter death - of any type - the more focused our lives become. That rings true to me.

+ I no longer have much stomach for public life.  When I was a young pastor, I wanted and even needed to mix it up and make a difference. These days I find I don't have the patience for much of that work. I believe in organizing. I value grassroots work as the best antidote to organized money. And I will always be supportive. But it seems as if my time in this realm of activism has passed. The first record album I ever bought - a Kinks LP with "Tired of Waiting" on it - had a song, "I'm a Lover Not a Fighter." And as this winter ripens, I have to say that that sentiment captures my heart perfectly. (Not a great song, mind you, but the tile still works.)

+ I have a sense that God is getting me ready for something totally new in ministry as I journey into my sabbatical that is also profoundly rooted in my deepest passions. I remember like it was yesterday sitting in the Potter's House in DC sensing: "I could be a part of this." As the church of Jesus Christ in the USA wrestles with what the Spirit of the Living God is calling us to do, more than anything else I trust it has to do with worship. We are NOT a social service organization. We are NOT a political party. And we certainly are not a one stop center for entertainment. The Body of Christ is a community grounded in God's grace, called to honor God's grace in worship and then use our bodies, hearts, minds and souls to embody this grace by how we live.

So, tomorrow, the phone will NEVER be answered. My church email will NEVER be checked. And anything resembling work will not be addressed. For tomorrow is given over to rest and finalizing the next steps for our sabbatical. But you say that isn't for another three months? True but there is Lent and Easter just around the corner, so I need to be ready. There is an upright bass to rent in Montreal. And contacts to be made in NYC and Nashville. And passports to be updated and rental car arrangements to be secured.  Hell, there is another French lesson to finish, too! What's more, a huge blizzard is coming so it is time to hunker down and take it slow.

Le temps est venu de lancer ce à la vitesse supérieure ...

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