Words that we did not use just a little while ago are now common in our conversations. Pandemic is now a part of our daily lives. Some other new words are: Covid-19, Corona Virus, Shelter in Place, and Flatten the Curve. We’ve come to use these words frequently, whether we want to or not. We are growing in our understanding of this new vocabulary, as we grow into our understanding of how all of these words and phrases affect our daily routines. Using these words can cause anxiety, fear, and alarm.
How might we lift up some other words that can be a part of our vocabulary? Words like generosity, faith, creativity, community? And words like grace, love, forgiveness, tolerance, peace, inclusion? Our faith calls us to use and live out these words. Our faith journey is measured and marked by how we live into these words and actions. We live always in the pure grace of God, a grace that heals brokenness, a grace that lifts up hope, a grace that gives life purpose and meaning. God’s grace is the work of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit acts within us and the lives of our faith communities again and again and again. It is present in ways we cannot explain or understand, and is a very powerful force.
Language carries power. The pandemic and shelter in place cause me to be concerned about my productivity. I have responsibilities – my call as a deacon, my relationships as daughter, sister, wife, cousin, and my connections as a member of a congregation and a neighborhood and community. Have I been doing enough? I’ve also been aware of striving towards perfection. Did I lead that meeting exactly right? Am I relating to that person in a healthy way? And the third area I am focusing on is performance. I hate looking at myself on screen! My reading glasses hide my eyes and my perm has grown out. What do other people think of me?
After a few weeks of living with productivity, perfection, and performance I was exhausted. There was no way I could sustain that pattern and remain healthy or sane. I needed a new vocabulary, one that would allow me to relax more and worry less. I am obsessed with P words so I’ve begun to replace productivity with process, perfection with presence, and performance with patience. Process, presence, and patience free me to live into a place where the Holy Spirit is teaching me new things. Thankfully, circumstances have helped me on this path. I am reading Acts: Catching Up With The Spirit by Matthew Skinner with a book study group at Trinity Lutheran, Nampa. The author invites readers “to get started or restarted on a rich journey through the pages of Acts and its story about Jesus’ followers as they undertake the exciting and sometimes confusing work of catching up with the Holy Spirit.” My vocabulary, thoughts, and actions now include this phrase “catching up with the Holy Spirit.”
I do not know exactly what this will mean, but I sense the sighs of the Holy Spirit within me.
“We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit.” Romans 8: 26-27
Let us pray...
Risen Lord, your Spirit lives within each of us and is at work. Help us breathe out our anxiety and fear, and breathe in your presence and new life. May our breathing remind us of the breath of the Spirit so that we may be catching up to what you have in store for us. May the Spirit’s work help us become more than we have been, living out your work among us. AMEN.