From the Bishop: Late summer 2017
August 11h, 2017
|Late Summer 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ –
Last Monday I got an early morning telephone call from one of my adult kids. In a somewhat bemused and baffled tone, I was told that their car had been stolen from their apartment parking lot some time the night before. After a little speculation together about how this could have possibly happened, we quickly sorted out the details about calling the police and notifying our insurance company. Over the course of the morning we kept in touch by text, as the cops came to take a report, the folks at Travellers were notified, and arrangements were made to get to and from work later in the day. I suppose we were about an hour into the crises when in the increasingly long cue of texts from the kid in question, this suddenly appears: “Cancel ASAP. Car is fine.” It turns out that the vehicle had been left at the parking lot at work on Friday when a couple of riders consolidated to a single car, and that the “stolen” vehicle had been harmlessly been at that same spot over the weekend. By Monday, the fact that the car had been intentionally left elsewhere had been completely forgotten.
I’ve had a good time poking fun at the kid in question, but in fact, this is the sort of thing that can and does happen to most of us with embarrassing frequency. We forget to pick up the kids after school. We forget to pay the mortgage. We leave the door of the house open wide when we’re going away for the weekend. I once forgot to show up at a wedding for which I was supposed to be the Celebrant. Yikes!
I try not to be too hard on myself for these occasional lapses, and it does help to share stories with others and to learn that such spaciness is pretty commonplace. But in my own life anyway, I do see these kinds of dropped balls as symptomatic of a challenge that goes a little deeper than writing more careful to-do lists or managing my calendar a more carefully. That issue – which I believe is a spiritual challenge to all of us – is to cultivate the discipline of being fully present in every moment of our lives.
Part of basic discipleship and Christian living is attending, wherever we might be standing, to the here and now. Each moment is precious. The wonder of God’s creation is evident, if we’re mindful, in every place we go and in every breath we take. The possibility of encountering Christ is available to us whenever we are in the company of any other human being without exception. And the Holy Spirit is in us and around all the time. When we rush through our days, or focus too much of our attention on the mistakes of the past or the challenges that an unknown future might present, we fail to be open to the wondrous reality of God with us in the precious present.
We’re about to enter one of the busiest times on the secular calendar and in the Church year. In parishes around DioNeb and beyond, things crank up in a terrific way as Church School resumes, the choir returns after a summer off, and parish homecoming celebrations abound. With all this activity (and much, much more!) the prospect of becoming preoccupied with something or someone other than what God has placed before us right now, is very real.
So stop and look. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes if you can, and listen. There is more holiness in every place and moment on this earth than we can possibly imagine. Will you take the time to notice? Will you make the effort to attend?
Faithfully Yours in Christ –
+ Bishop Barker
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