Sunday, March 19, 2023 Lent Calendar* Invite: Attend worship. Practice the discipline of rest by sitting still in a comfortable chair for at least 20 minutes.
What is saving your life right now?
In her book An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith, Barbara Brown Taylor ponders that question: What is saving your life right now?
Pause… what is your answer? What is saving your life? What is or what has been a saving grace?
Today, I give thanks for two saving graces in my life… worship and comfortable chairs. I mean those separate. I have never been a sanctuary full of big, cushy, swallow-you-up chairs.
When I was a teenager, my friend Susie invited me to her church’s youth group. That invitation in and of itself was a saving grace. When I got my driver’s license, I had a new ease and freedom to go to church on Sunday mornings. Perhaps it was odd that at the age of 16, when many people seemed to shrug off church, I was drawn to worship. I was taken by the fact that so many people of different ages, most of whom I didn’t even know, came together, unified in a mysterious way. I felt a part of something bigger, of this quest for God. Though I didn’t know the names of all those sitting near me, I still felt connected to community. There always seemed to be a word - either from the sermon or a reading or a prayer or a song - that spoke to me. It was a little nugget to hold on to, a saving grace.
On perhaps a completely different note, the big cushy chair in my office is a saving grace. Though, the more I think about it, maybe worship and the chair both offer the saving grace of rest for my soul.
My days as a campus pastor are often nearly non-stop. One class ends and there is barely time to set up for the next. One meeting ends and someone is already waiting at my door. Sometimes I need a little breather. I set my alarm for 20 minutes (by the way, it ends with pretty chimes) in the middle of the day, or sometimes after the school day when I am switching modes from students on campus to preparing for the next day. I sit in my chair and close my eyes. I take notice of my breathing. I take notice of the places in my body that seem tense. I try to release all those tensions to God. Whatever is swirling in my head, I try to put to the side for those few minutes. Tasks and concerns often come back, invading my mind (they can be very pushy) and trying to take hold of my attention. But again, I try to gently push them away, just for a bit. As I breathe, as I let go of physical and mental tensions, I find myself more relaxed, more at rest, more ready and able to get up from my chair.
On this fourth Sunday of Lent, you are invited to worship, to rest, to sit in a comfortable chair, to ponder what is saving your life these days.