Over the last couple of months, the county-wide Ministerial Alliance of which I am a part has been trying to figure out our next step.
The summer lunch program that had been a large part of our combined ministry for a number of years came to an end just over a year ago and now … well, we’re not sure what’s next.
We understand that this task is not a process of mere decision-making. Rather, we are attempting to hear God’s call to the Body of Christ in this place and at this time. Our focus is on God’s invitation to service rather than depending on our own ideas for bettering our community.
The theological word for that process is discernment.
At the most recent gathering of our group, we began to winnow some of the ideas on the table. Before our meeting was over, my favorite suggestion – the idea about which I was most passionate – had been cast aside.
I confess: I was disappointed. Not terribly, but noticeably.
The idea wasn’t dismissed because it didn’t have merit or because the others who were gathered didn’t have interest. In prayerful and careful consideration, the consensus of the group was that this idea did not seem to be the way in which we feel God is leading us.
Yes. I admit that it’s not an exact science. And none of us knows without a doubt that we are pursuing the proper path. But we pray and we listen and we trust and we follow.
And at every turn, there is a road not taken.
This week’s Ministerial Alliance meeting has me thinking about the faith journey:
How do any of us continue down the road we feel is truly the path to which God has called us, even when it means turning aside from other roads that appeal to us?
Does God call us to let go of our dream?
And, perhaps most importantly, how do we distinguish between the conviction that God is leading us … and the yearnings of our own hearts?
These are questions that I continue to wrestle with. But, in my wrestling, I take heart from these words of Thomas Merton (from Thoughts in Solitude):
O Lord God, I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
And that fact that I think I am following Your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire to please You.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust You always
Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me to make my journey alone.
Amen, Brother Merton. Amen.
Tonight’s supper was a masterpiece of pantry living. Well, maybe “masterpiece” is not quite the right word.
One of the great pleasures of having my own home is having the space to really stock the pantry (and the freezer). I make a pretty good effort to stock up when things are on sale or buy appropriate items in bulk.
As a result, I find that I have the opportunity to be creative and to try new combinations in meal preparation based on what I have in stock.
Tonight was one of those nights.
A little of this, a little of that … and before you know it, supper is served!
I would like to tell you that this procedure is always a success.
Tonight’s soup experiment was a disaster (the success of homemade soup depends entirely on the quality of the broth). But the carrot cake with cream cheese icing (which was made into cupcakes for easy snackability) was amazing.
As I said: one out of two isn’t bad!
I confess that I like to think of myself as fairly literate when it comes to technology. My truly talented technical friends (Rob, Chip and others) know that I’m really not all that savvy. However, I’m willing to learn and I’m not afraid to just play around with a gadget until I figure out how it works.
Not unlike many of my generation, I sometimes field calls from my parents or others who are in need of some technical how-to help. I do my best to walk them through these dangerous waters … but admit that my patience has been challenged on more than one occasion.
Today was a perfect example.
A call early in the day found me saying, “Are you talking about the first page of text within a document named History? Or are you talking about a document called Page One in a folder called History?”
To which the caller replied, “I don’t know. How do I tell the difference?” (Silent hair-pulling ensued on my end of the conversation.)
But within only a few hours, somebody UPSTAIRS decided to teach me a lesson. My pal “J” – who is a great friend, a self-confessed “computer geek,” and an emissary from the generation after me – sent an email in reply to my technical questions about videos and the internet.
I won’t go into the technical details of J’s email … because I can’t. I have absolutely no idea what the email said. There were some links and a series of directions; all-in-all, it was a bit like reading Biblical Hebrew.
I told J that I would look at the links and experiment with the directions, and I’m hoping that it will all make a little more sense once I try it out. But in the meantime, I’ll consider this a lesson learned about what the backhand of the generational gap feels like when it smacks you in the head.
PS: Today begins ClutterBuster28! Not only will I be spending the next 28 days tackling the clutter in and around my house, but I’ve also committed to finding at least 100 things that I can either give away or throw away to help simplify my household (and, thus, my life). Tomorrow, I’ll post an update on the first day of ClutterBuster28 … as well as the “Before” pictures of several areas I plan to tackle before the month is over.