The blare of the neighbor’s music sends a frisson of irritation through me. I came out here to spend some time meditating and praying. How dare they interrupt my time with their music! Who do they think they are!?!
“Who do I think I am?” is the better question. After all, it’s not my outside. It’s not as if the outside ever reaches anything approaching real silence. Wind whistles through branches. Cars drive in the distance and nearby. An airplane passes overhead.
Then I remember. I didn’t really go outside for the “silence” or to pray, but because it’s a beautiful day. After such a cold April, I wanted to be outside. And I was. The sun shone, the warm air surrounded me. What is a little music to that? I let a small annoyance overwhelm all the ways I experienced God’s beauty in that moment. I didn’t like the music playing; yet, why should I let one thing blind me to what God is doing?
Too often we let annoyances consume our attention. These small, or even large, negatives cry for attention and we give it to them. We let our vision narrow onto that issue until it seems to define everything else rather than be one small thread of the large tapestry of our lives. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pay attention to those things, but they don’t need to define us.
We, as a community, currently face a number of issues that feel difficult and that require our work and our attention. We need to find a new space sharing partner and money is tight until we do. We need to do some sprucing up of the parsonage and that requires our labor. But, we shouldn’t forget the fullness of what God is doing in our midst. We can’t let technical issues define our ministry.
We are doing amazing work of God in this place. We are serving hundreds every month through our food pantry. We welcomed neighbors through our doors to enjoy and support the work of local crafters. We partner with other congregations to help local homeowners. We learn together, growing deeply into our faith. We nurture one another. We explore new ways to think about and name God and how that can change our perspective on everything. God is our lifestyle. We put on a God of mystery who loves us as a parent, who struggles joyously to bring us into new life. That is what defines us, everything else are just threads in the beautiful tapestry of our life together.