It's a different season but a sentiment similar to Frost's on that snowy evening accompanies this mid-term of my tenure as Priest-in-Charge. In order for us to do what is required when there is still nearly a year to go, stopping and listening even to the near silence seems almost like a mistake.
"Let's just keep going" some would say and "It's all good." Others have particular interests but still are inclined not to examine or question our basic intentions.
However, stopping with miles to go may help us to understand and focus more sharply, to listen more intently, and to ask better questions.
In order to do this work of asking better questions we are forming a team of parishioners young and old, long-time members and people fairly new to worshipping with us. As the team comes into shape we will present them to the parish and pray God's blessings on their work.
Before they have their first meeting there is already on my mind a question that they'll need to help us all ask and answer. It is a tricky consideration because it has to move through some more immediate and automatic appraisals.
Here it is: Is the church God is calling Advent to become best served by a priest with Fr. Dann's gifts and talents, skills, habits, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc, etc.
The more immediate or automatic question is do we like each other. From my perspective the answer is yes. Do we love each other? Again the answer is yes! Thanks be to God the answer is yes in both directions! We shouldn't go another step unless we felt this way.
But our continuing in ministry with each other can be -- some have said should be -- chosen from a larger context. We need to ask in as many ways as we can questions about Advent too, beginning with what God is calling us to become. Perhaps more specifically, who God is calling each of us to become, together?
Asking that opens up an even larger set of considerations and pretty soon we're having the same "what is our purpose?" kind of conversation Bishop Wright has been hammering for most of his episcopate. To some degree we've already been having our own parish-wide version of this since the Dinners with Dann.
Those conversations rendered answers more in the program and activity direction. These new questions will want us to look at our history, the healing we've experienced and the strength and renewal we are recovering.
So . . . who is God calling us to become and IS frDann the one best suited to walk with us and lead us as we make this new road?
Don't be afraid. We want our "rector letter of agreement" to be drafted from a place better than the Facebook standards of friending or liking.
We also want to acknowledge that the way in which we have served with each other has already brought us at least a mile or two. To say it another way, we are not at the beginning of our journey with each other. Yet what remains may need something else from us and with miles to go we may need to re-solve those promises in order to keep them.