On a day in early January that feels more like spring than it does like winter, I find myself reflecting on the in-between times of change and growth. Just like winter is a time for vegetative hibernation, there are seasons of change and growth that look like nothing is happening. For a culture that values instant gratification and a competitive edge in the biggest and best, being in-between is never satisfying. The thing is, while we are getting frustrated by the apparent inactivity, real change is happening and one day you wake up and open your eyes, and everything is different.
It is hard for me to imagine that more than four years has passed since I was called to be pastor with/for/to Anderson Hills Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). When my family and I arrived with one child, who was eight months old and just starting to pull up, I was ready for new things and I was excited about all that God had in store for us. Four years later, I am still amazed at what God is doing in my life and in the life of the church. That’s not to say I don’t have moments of wondering where in the world God might be, and when inspiration might show up. But God is good and God is present.
God is present in the lives of those who come to me and share their stories of joy and celebration because God is making a change in their lives. God is present in the wonder of the children who come and ask questions about faith and life and Jesus and God, and in their re-telling of faith stories as they learn. God is present in the love that is shared when one church member gives another a ride to the hospital for major surgery because family does not live close by. God is present in the generous gifts of church members who prayerfully consider how their faith teaches them to share what they have. God is present in the joy on faces as people arrive for worship. God is present in the search to discern God’s vision. God is present in the lives led outside of the church walls. God is present…
When the winter is upon us and trees and grass look like death has overtaken the earth, it is important to remember that the flowers will return. God’s promise is true and it is faithful. We are not left alone in the winter to die, but instead God is preparing us for what is next. Let our hearts take time to be rested and renewed in this winter season. Let us hear the call to stop and just take it all in. Let us remember to pay attention to the in-between times and spaces so that we might hear, or see, or be witness to the glimpses of God’s reign on earth.