There has been a sense of anticipation in the air here at First. Six hundred of us have in some way contributed to The Plan over the past year. The staff has been planning for the “Year of Service and Fellowship” all summer and pulling together powerful visuals to help us consider our life as servants. The days of summer seem to be waning and the days of blue sky and cool pools are yielding to beautifully colored trees and picking apples. Anticipation is in the air and we are excited about what is coming down the road. By now, you have had the opportunity to read the strategic plan and participate in a cottage meeting, you have noticed our guiding visual as you walk into the church and if you are anything like me, you have been doing some baking with apples. Here we are, the place we have been waiting to be at. How’s it going for you?
Well I am excited and eager to begin! To jump in with both feet into The Plan and the promises of life and vitality it makes for years to come. I did my own little happy dance when the window was covered with this lovely graphic and I made a mean apple pie a couple of weeks ago. What I find myself doing though, is thinking ahead. I do that a lot, anticipate what the future may be like, what I need to do next week, next month, next year—and what I fail to do is appreciate what is around me. That is why the visual we are using this year for our Year of Service and Fellowship is so powerful. It reminds me to center myself, to breathe in the moment, to be present to what is going on around me right now. The hard part about being present in the moment is that I find myself there. My flawed, sinful, scared and guarded self. Being present in the moment requires a discipline of being aware of ourselves, God, and others. It gives us a moment for our soul to breathe and speak and be heard. There is a connection between God and me that I am more aware of, more understanding of. It is the moment, this present moment, when the trust I have in God rises up and my self can rest and I am most my authentic self. It is here, the center of the circle, bathed in the light of God that I am restored and present; present to the needs of others. Then and only then can I be of utmost service to God and my neighbor. If I am always concerned for the future (or the past) I miss so much.
This year, I invite you to the discipline of servanthood. It begins with being present with God, in prayer, in study, in worship, in life. Then each month as we expand our circle, I invite you to find ways to be attentive to the present moment and where God is inviting you to serve. I think if we all do this, amazing things are going to happen: here at First, in our community and in our world.
Take our lives that we may be, consecrated Lord to thee, take our moments and our days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. Amen.
Photo by: Rev. Catherine MacDonald, Halifax, Nova Scotia