It is not difficult to do when you live in the midst of them. My home is in a valley surrounded by tree covered mountains.
It is a comfort to run across these words on a regular basis. They are one of the regular selections for Noon Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. It is the most requested Psalm among the old-timers who leave this life to be with the one who has watched over them for their many years.
May you find the shade that the Psalmist proclaims…
I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?
My help comes from the LORD, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved *
and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
shall neither slumber nor sleep;
The LORD himself watches over you; *
the LORD is your shade at your right hand,
So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; *
it is he who shall keep you safe.
The LORD shall watch over your going out and your coming in, *
from this time forth for evermore.
It has a couple of parts to it:
1) The calling of a disciple-Levi, son of Alphaeus-complete with a “Follow Me!”
2) Questions from the Pharisees about fasting…with the obvious question, “Why is this Jesus not like John?”
Then the line that stands out for me today:
‘No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.’
We live in some odd times. This is the 21st century and we have more technology than we know what to do with. We have considerably more education and credentials than any of those early disciples ever had. Yet, we haven’t figured out how to keep the Good News fresh.
Fresh doesn’t necessarily mean new or modern (or post modern for that matter)–it also means, energetic, healthy and invigorated. Contemporary worship that has no heart or soul may be just as unhealthy as a liturgical eucharist that is rote and rushed. A church without a pulse can come in many styles and forms. If it has no life, and is not whole, it will not be able to communicate the Gospel.
I spent a good bit of my career trying to champion the new, and the different when it came to sharing the Gospel. I want to spend the rest of my career sharing something fresh.
Sometimes it is necessary to start fresh. There were close to 300 posts on the old version of this website that are gone now. They have been saved in a file for perpetuity, and like the liturgical year and the seasons, some of those posts will probably return here.
Why the fresh start? It just seemed like the right thing to do at this time. The Spirit blows where it will, and sometimes it offers me a nudge.
I have been a person in formation for quiet awhile now. I have learned that when you feel the nudge, just let it happen. You can try to fight it, but when it is the Spirit that’s nudging you, you’ll never win. Might as well enjoy the ride.
It was my drive up the mountain this morning where I heard the still small voice say, “It’s time to start fresh. Tend to your inner self. Let it be an opportunity to serve others.” (All this without a cup of coffee.)
So, I am going to renew my call to the inner life, and listen to the inner voice, and have a good time doing it. If you join me on the journey, enjoy yourself. May we be formed together.