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  • Writer's picturePastor Chris Smith

Stability and Breathing Space

Holy T is a beautiful tapestry of faith, fellowship, and service. This tapestry hangs as a reflection of God’s grace active in the life of a community and a witness to the expansive love of God in Christ Jesus. As the Psalmist sings: I love the beauty of your house, Lord; I love the place where your glory resides. Recently, the walls of this sanctuary have echoed with concerns and uncertainties... feels like a tightening band around our collective chest. The air feels a bit thinner, the path ahead a bit murkier.

Yet, isn't it often in the tightest spaces that we learn the true value of a breath? When things are easy, when the path is clear, we might take the air we breathe for granted. But when faced with challenges, every breath becomes precious, every moment of respite a gift.

... Just as Jesus posed that pivotal question in Caesarea Philippi, we too are faced with our own questions: Who are we as a church? What is our mission? How can we best serve our community in these trying times?

The 12th Century Indian Poet Basavanna wrote: Listen, O Lord of the meeting rivers, things standing shall fall, but the moving ever shall stay. As a pastor, I often want to build something stable, solid, and lasting. The last four years have proven to be challenging on that front. We’ve experienced a lot of instability together. Sunday, I referenced the book Breathing Space by The Rev. Heidi Neumark. In her story, Pastor Heidi describes the implications of stability and instability in ecclesial or church-y terms. She writes, “…instability is the only thing that last in this earthly city. It’s ironic that many clergy choose to avoid the inner city in favor of a more secure environment for themselves and for their families. Then some of these same ministers complain that their churches are set in their ways, stuck, rigid, unmoving – which is to say, stable! A fully satisfied church, where nothing moves or changes is a dead church. In the end, stasis may be more deadly than instability. And stasis is definitely no problem here! In fact, there is tremendous vitality amidst the instability. In my experience here, we live en la lucha (in the struggle) and life is scraping and sparring all over the place, unwilling to sit still, or go down and give up the ghost. The moving ever shall stay because it appears within a dynamic, creative, and indefatigable power- the power of la lucha against monstrous forces that threaten to devour us, but have not and will not because we struggle on.”

My thoughts resonate with Pastor Heidi and her sense of call... In fact, I see glimmers of God’s Reign amidst the instability. I’ve found it helpful in recent weeks to consider this season a time to find breathing space.

... As we navigate this season, let's remember that every challenge also brings with it an opportunity. The opportunity to grow, to adapt, and to find new ways to breathe life into our mission. Let's come together, as a community, to create those essential pockets of breathing space, where we can draw strength from one another, lean on our shared faith, and chart a path forward with renewed vigor and purpose.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris

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