Over the last few weeks, I was blessed to visit my favorite retreat center (a Buddhist dhamma hall in Onalaska, Washington, at the foot of Mount St. Helens) to sit in silence for ten days of meditation. I’ve been known to joke—if asked for a strange fact about myself—that one of my quirks is that I am able to sit eerily still for intimidating amounts of time.
This is not to say that I’m a good meditator. I am not. Inside my own mind, I am leaping from branch to mental branch with great fervor. This retreat, I had a series of ‘90’s country songs stuck on repeat in my head. I am worryingly obsessed by what my co-meditators are doing, especially if they’re sitting more still than I am, or seem to be using fewer pillows. The distractions, comparisons and sleepiness are more common than any brilliant insights.
And yet, I can think of few practices that have given me more clarity about who I really am and orientation toward my purpose in this world. Christian community is another one –over the years, I’ve learned compassion for people I would have judged irredeemable, including myself. Another is local volunteering, where I am taught (over and over) humility and abundance-mentality.
As we’re finding our way back to ourselves in this season of pandemic, all of these lessons are revisiting us.
• Who will we be, now that the Great Re-sorting has shifted our priorities?
• What does compassion mean in a city where it’s clear our systems are completely unhelpful to those who need them most?
• Where does our scarcity mindset (learned honestly during supply-chain delays of basic groceries and gas price jumps) need to transform into extreme generosity?
• And what practices (sitting in deep prayer, fellowship, service or any other means of grace we can find) will help us change now?
It’s resurrection season, beloveds. Extravagant transformation is our God’s bread and butter. Change is possible, but we have a role to play. What do you need to do, now, so that St. Michael’s is an immediate part of the solution our God has already dreamed up for us? I invite you to sit very still and listen carefully to the invitation. Our baptismal promises remind us that each one of us—me and you and you—has been offered one specifically. May you accept it, with grace.