September 21, 2018
On my way to work there are 4 playground/school zones. The speed limit in those areas are 30 kmh. Therefore, a short trip to the church actually takes me almost twice as long to make. I think of the different areas in life where we are mandated to go slower. It could be because of a surgery, age, sports commitments or the volume of work one has. In those times we need to slow down and be aware of what we are doing; have our eyes on the road, so to speak. For if we are not careful enough it could result in a ticket and demerit points.
I’m aware that there are rarely tickets and demerit points for those school zones in our lives. But there are risks involved. Should we choose to move too quickly we can miss what is around us. If we hasten back from an illness we can end up even more sick than we were before. If we take on more and more the end result could be burnout and a carelessness about what we have going on.
The life of a church has these speed zones as well. As the institutional church goes through changes, it needs to do the due diligence of acknowledging where we are and how best to get to the next zone. At Woodcliff United Church we are in a school zone right now. We’re taking stock of who we are, what we have to offer and how we can best serve those inside and outside of the congregation. This process may seem slow, but it’s necessary to avoid “fines”.
What have we sped through? Where can we learn to slow down?
September 14, 2018
This week I started to go through the drawers and cabinets that are in my office at Woodcliff United Church. As I begin to settle in, I am wanting to try and make the office space feel a little more homey. In emptying some cabinets I have found some pretty neat items. I have found a pre-modern expresso machine, a doomsday amount of candles, and a marriage prep course from the 1970’s. It is safe to say that perhaps only one of those belongs in my office…
Despite the diversity items I am excavating from the desk drawers, I am feeling a little like an archaeologist. As I go through my office there are items here that a couple of decades ago would have been the highlight of any office. There are resources that were top of the line back in the 1970’s. One of the more interesting pieces I found was a plasticized copy of the order of service from the inaugural service of the United Church of Canada in 1925. A beautiful service of unity, but with language and a purpose that is foreign to today. As we clean out offices or homes, we have a sense of nostalgia and discovery as we find the items of our youth. There is a great sense of joy and familiarity as we itemize those hallowed spaces. However, nostalgia does not always mean it is great for the present. (Bell bottom jeans, anyone?)
As a Church and as individuals we are constantly taking stock of what is hidden away in secret rooms, bottom desk drawers or displayed prominently. It is a good practice to remember where items have come from but also to recognize that they are from a specific time and place. The author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Hebrew Bible, knew this, and he wrote the following : “For every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens…”
What’s in your desk drawer? What is its purpose as we inch close to 2019?