Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
From Mary Oliver’s “Sometimes”
It’s been four months since I showed up on your doorstep, church. Not enough time to have memorized each name and face (though that’s coming along) nor to have mastered some of the trickier locks around the building, but more than enough time, certainly, to have noticed a few things.
A room full of hotel-sized soaps and shampoos, for example, just waiting to be handed out to shower-room guests. A tiny herd of delighted toddlers frolicking in the nursery downstairs mid-week. A plaque commemorating a whopping 150 years of ministry in Walla Walla.
All of these things tell me a little about what kind of church we have here, but the thing I’ve noticed most of all is the sheer number of gifted people in the pews. Pioneer seems to have servant leaders coming out of its ears, not to mention artists, poets, chefs, prophets, and ministers of every kind. Now, I’m not trying to flatter you here, but I do find the abundance astonishing. And I wanted to tell you about it, even though you probably already know.
Of course, as Jesus says (in one of his more troubling parables): “To those who have received much, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). So I’d like to extend what we might call the Mary Oliver Challenge, a challenge to Pay Attention, Be Astonished, and Tell About It.
Walla Walla, like every place, needs people to pay attention to what God is doing in its midst — too many have stopped looking. Our neighbors need someone to pay attention to them, and to point out what God might be up to in their lives.
Our community also needs those who have eyes to see and ears to hear to practice wonder — to remind us how to be astonished, by God, by his creation, and by one another.
And our world needs folks to tell about it. To share the Good News in word and deed because the world is hungry for liberation, for joy, and for love.
We follow Mary Oliver’s instructions for living every week in worship, as we sing, pray, listen, and preach….but you know the work doesn’t end there. Let’s be thinking about how we, as church and as individual Christians, might stretch our attention spans, deepen our sense of wonder, and strengthen our prophetic voices. And let’s be praying for new ways to share that abundance of attention, wonder, and Good News that we’ve cultivated with the world beyond these walls.
Yours in wonder,