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Dear pastors, don’t go back too hastily….

You know that you want to.

You know you have said it:

I can’t wait to get back to normal.

To be back in your building.

Doing what you have always done.

It is known

It is normal

It is what it is….

Yet there is another pull inside of you,

it is calling and moving you in another direction… 

A quick story: Henry David Thoreau.

HDT went to Walden in 1845 and stayed for two years.

A mixture of solitude, spiritual journey and social experiment.

We would do well to remember one of the most famous quotes of this excursion:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to find a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the brief end of man here to ‘glorify God and enjoy him forever’”

During the Covid-19 pandemic we have

Went to the woods of staying healthy at home

We have faced the essentials of life and thus the non-essentials

We have seen life for what it is:

A precious gift and we want to live it well – with Spartan-like fervor

And yet

Many of us have a strange uncertainty about what is next.

And many of us are tempted to hastily conclude that the old, known, well worn paths will bring back what was

And it will be good.

I want to ask you to stop for just a moment.

Ask this: Do I really want to go back to the way things were pre-C19?

Or were there things you discovered in the woods of this time that you want hold onto?

And likewise: are there things that you want to let go and never to return to?

What have you learned during this time

and will you hold onto it once normal comes back?

The goal of the days of ahead is to live in a way

that the primacy of what is most important 

Is front and center.

With focus that is clear and non-negoiatable,

Boundaries are understood and create space for freedom 


Seeds that are sown, 

good, whole and right seeds

that will bring life in their time and season.

I can see this?  Can you?

Going back too hastily to the old without remembering the lessons that

Pioneer and Perfecter and our faith has been teaching us would be tragic.

As life starts to move towards normal,

If you don’t go with the flow, that is okay.

Go with Jesus

Being in the will of God means

Keeping in step with the Spirit

Our role is not to stay in step…

…With culture

…With ways and wants of people – even your church folks

…With the ways you were doing life before

I am resolved to move ahead with:

Eyes up

– fixed on Jesus

Heart open

-and ready to give

Feet strong.

-steady and wide

Hands that are ready.

-to offer what is needed

Friends, let’s move forward well.


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