Friday, October 14, 2016

Thinking Clearly on the Journey Ahead

Earlier tonight, my wife and I walked our beagle pup around Buckingham Lake in Albany.  One day, we happened across it not too far from our home, yet at the time of our first encounter, we were rushing by as we got turned around with directions.

Flash forward a couple of years later, we have added this lake to our places where the dog can happily run ahead on the long lead and sniff everything in sight.  (She is a beagle after all!)

Our trip this time came in the midst of what will be the heaviest travel week I have for my Regional ministry work (five out of seven days does not happen that often).  At the mid-point of this week of travel, I looked ahead up the path and saw this rather inviting image of the pathway in the midst of the trees.

Sometimes, we struggle to see much of anything when we are trudging down the road (or in my case, moving along various parts of the New York ThruWay and parts of upstate New York from nearly NYC to nearly Canada this week).  It can be hard to "lift up thine eyes" when thine eyelids are craving a longer time to sleep in and one's body feels the miles.

Like everyone else, clergy have to choose when to say "enough" and when to keep on keeping on.  I know I have been remiss in taking my full vacation days in a given year.  I sometimes work ahead like my forebearers did the Kansas sod:  just keep on going, as it won't get done otherwise.

Deprogramming me is my growing awareness of the idea that boundaries, rest and common sense are ministry tools that help church leaders (ordained and lay alike) meet their goal of serving God and neighbor rather than collapsing and meeting God and getting one's harp and halo a bit earlier than really one should.

Consider my reflection this evening in your own life and work.  When is it okay to lift up your head, heart and mind to the reality that God offers us a life that includes Sabbath by design.  Even God took the seventh day.

Ensure you see the pathway ahead.  It may give you pause....for good reason!

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