Lisa Allgood, Executive Presbyter
“Ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Jeremiah 6:16
Jessie is my 2-year old exuberant boxer (yes, the one who broke my finger last spring). She has taught me a lot of life lessons, at home and during our early morning walks – and somehow, ruminating while walking her in the very early morning sunshine, they took on metaphorical ties to our existence as churches. She wanted to share a few with you.
1. You can walk faster by yourself – but it’s not as much fun. It’s fun to run off leash but much more fun to stick by Mom and show her where the good sniffs are, and occasionally bring her a stick. And she lets me play with the other dogs, too, when she knows that dog’s walker-human. It’s always good to be part of a community that loves and cares for you. And it’s a lot more fun.
2. Sometimes we don’t worry how many steps we need to take ‘cuz I like it best when Mom lets me just go do fun stuffs, like run in the dirt so I can kick up little dust balls. Don’t sweat the details. Worship and community is meant to be fun, too. Let the Holy Spirit bring that joy back into your worship! 3. The distractions can be the thing. Once there was a whole herd of deer on the field and I got a little scared, but the next time there were kids playing on the same field and I got so excited…! There are distractions everywhere – we can avoid them, embrace them as teachable moments, or wiggle with excitement at the possibilities.
4. Sometimes it’s good to stop and just sit and see what’s around you. Fountains are amazing and Mom lets me watch! And when you do stop and see what’s around you, you might find the magic you thought you’d lost.
5. The unknown can lead us to new places. I don’t like anyone walking behind me, so I just sits and waits for it to pass. Sometimes that takes a long time – Mom is patient ‘cuz she knows when I is scared. Sometimes I just want to go home. And then sometimes I decide it looks pretty interesting so I want to go closer. There are so many ways of being church – sometimes we either are afraid of that shiny new change we didn’t notice coming up behind us, or we want to chase it immediately. Not all shiny new things are right for us. Not all of them are scary, either. 6. The way we see things matter. Mom sees the deer and the fox before I do. I sees ALL the squirrels. We see through the filters we carry with us – and that may cause us to miss something important, or miss learning something interesting and different. Take time to notice, and leave the filters of bias and judgment behind. Let the Spirit do what the Spirit is here to do.
7.There are times you have to climb higher to see the cool stuff. Yes, I really did climb this without prompting, cajoling, or encouragement – all by myself. It made mom laugh. And that’s when you’re feeling brave and free and open to the promptings of the Spirit. Just go with it. Sometimes impulse IS the Spirit.
8. Stuff is stuff. There are lots of geese where we walk, and they leave stuff on the ground – but Mom holds my head up on the leash and won’t let me at it, even though it smells really good. When you’re walking through the stuff of life – and oh yes, there is stuff – hold your head high. You’ll get through it. You are a Child of God. 9. Some days, home is best. The sunlight on the back porch is always the bestest and warmest place for a puppy to be. The Light of the World is always the best. Some days it’s harder to find. But then I’ve found the Light always finds me.
10. Mom says there is One Rule to Rule Them All: we don’t go backwards.
‘Nuff said. Backwards doesn’t take us forward.