As a pastor, I feel that an important aspect of pastoring is being a Light Bearer -- one who hold the Light for all to witness. As it gets increasingly challenging I seek ways to continue to feed my own Light so I can shine Spirit's Light brightly for all to see.
A friend of mine and I were talking this week. She was sharing what arose in her meditation time. She said Spirit was reminding her that her work at this moment is to do what she needs to do to keep her boat afloat, to hold hope.
Then she read Wendell Berry's poem, "Keeping Our Small Boat Afloat"
So many blessings have been given to us
During the first distribution of light, that we are
Admired in a thousand galaxies for our grief.
Don't expect us to appreciate creation or to
Avoid mistakes. Each of us is a latecomer
To the earth, picking up wood for the fire.
Every night another beam of light slips out
From the oyster's closed eye. So don't give up hope
that the door of mercy may still be open.
Seth and Shem, tell me, are you still grieving
Over the spark of light that descended with no
Defender near into the Egypt of Mary's womb?
It's hard to grasp how much generosity
Is involved in letting us go on breathing,
When we contribute nothing valuable but our grief.
Each of us deserves to be forgiven, if only for
Our persistence in keeping our small boat afloat
When so many have gone down in the storm.
As I drove home from our visit pondering keeping my small boat afloat the story of Jesus asleep in the boat on the Sea of Galilee arose in my heart.
Jesus calms the sea (Mark 4: 35-41)
There was Jesus unconcerned as the wind blew this small boat around the Sea of Galilee, unconcerned while it filled with water that splashed in from the waves, unconcerned as his disciples freaked out. He seemed almost annoyed when they woke him in panic.
He silenced the wind and waves by a simple command, then turned to his disciples: "Why are you so afraid? Have you no faith?"
There are times I want to shout back, "Yes I have no faith that everything I believe in will not be dismantled." I see it happening.
Yet, somehow, inside me I know Wendell Berry and Jesus are correct. They are both offering hope!
We are being invited to:
Face the storm
and speak with faith, strength, and courage
With our bodies
Through our signs
At our rallies
By our votes
In our organizing.
Speak this storm into
We can keep our boats afloat using our bodies, our muscles, our spirits. We have to power to command change, transformation and justice!
Let us speak with Christ's authority, Christ's power, Christ's faith!