Have you had any epiphanies lately?
Have you had any “aha” moments, when something dawned on you, that you had not considered before? These moments can be exciting and fun, like realizing you are NOT lost, when you are out hiking. They can be difficult when you realize something about yourself that requires change, like when you realize that YOU may be the problem, not the other person.
Epiphanies about God I think, are the same way. I have heard stories of people who realized suddenly that God would not be pleased with the way they were living. It was like waking up. The epiphany led to a changed life and new choices. Other epiphanies can be humbling and awesome, like realizing that God really does love you, at the core of your being and has been trying to bless you your whole life long. Those kinds of epiphanies can also be life changing.
I have had a few epiphanies in my life. My latest epiphany though was not an “aha” moment as much as it was a “hmmm” moment. Some context: pastors tend to always be wondering, “Are we doing enough?” or “As the church and as pastor, are we doing what God needs us to be doing, here and now?” or “What sort of ministry should we be engaged in this year?” One morning last month, as I was writing in my prayer journal and praying, and thinking about my church, a thought popped into my head: maybe we are actually doing what we need to be doing right now. Maybe we are doing enough.
Of course, there is always more that we could be doing; you know that to be true on a personal level. I am sure it is true on an institutional level. But maybe after two years of surviving a global pandemic we are doing what we can as a congregation and as individuals. Maybe we are doing enough.
As 21st Century North American capitalists, we are by nature consumers. We have been programmed to want MORE. That is how our economy works. We want more stuff, more money, more time, more time off, more education, more house, more cars, more, more, more. It’s not bad to want more. But perhaps it is not what Jesus is talking about when he tells his disciples to seek the Kingdom of God. I don’t think Jesus is telling his followers to want more.
Spirituality, in my experience, is about subtraction, not addition. It is about subtracting distractions, and useless ideas and prejudices. It is about subtracting busy-ness in favor of awareness, and contentment. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about fasting and alms giving. Those involve subtraction, of food and of money. We modern folk have been programmed to want more and we even want more from our church. But maybe that is not what God wants. Maybe we are enough. And maybe you are enough. Maybe God’s grace is enough.
God’s peace to you, Pr. Bob Albing