Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.15.2021)

I am often inspired by the writings of Father Richard Rohr. A few weeks ago, he posed a question that has existential implications for “our current reality”:

What if the challenges of the current moment are actually offering us an invitation to let go of our ideas of freedom and mobility and to consciously participate with reality in a new way?

Admittedly, this is not the kind of question that most of us are wanting to address right now. With several Covid vaccines beginning to be distributed, albeit much more slowly than anyone would like, all eyes are on the future. When can we get back to “normal”? How long before we can eat in restaurants again? When can I see my grandchildren? The only thought we seem to be paying to “the current moment” is wondering how soon it will end.

Not so fast. Since it is clear that we still have some time before we can move about freely without a high risk of infection, perhaps we could take advantage of these last days of restriction for some reflection. Have we learned anything in the past ten months? I don’t mean as a society. Have you learned anything about yourself – your limitations, your frustrations, your priorities? Is there anything that you will do differently moving forward, now that you’ve had some time when you couldn’t do much moving at all?

Christian mystics sometimes take a vow of stabilitas loci (staying in place). Someone who takes this vow promises not to leave their place of retreat before he has completed a specific spiritual practice or attained a certain realization. That is a more lofty goal than simply “getting through” these trying days in which you and I find ourselves.

Believe me, I’ll be as glad as anyone to break the chains of quarantine. But I also know that I haven’t used this time as wisely as I could have. Perhaps we are being granted just a little more time stabilitas loci so that we might grow in our faith, so we could become more determined to follow where Christ might lead us, so we can live lives that are more peaceful and content. All these and more are possible outcomes of quiet contemplation and prayer. You probably have more time for those spiritual disciplines now than you will when you’ve been vaccinated. Let’s “let go of our ideas of freedom and mobility” (as Rohr puts it) and see what God still has to teach us.