Those of you who follow me on Facebook may know that I spent the first two weeks of November in Guatemala for a Global Mission consultation, and in Mexico for a vacation with my wife, Lynn, as we prepare to mark our 25th wedding anniversary. As I walked the streets of Antigua, Guatemala, tapping into the part of my brain that holds my Spanish-language skills, soaking in the familiar sights and sounds and smells and tastes of places that I have come to know and love in many trips to that part of the world, laughing and walking and wondering, I felt grounded and connected to my true self, centered in the person I have become over the years.
I pray that we all have those places and experiences that help us remember who we are, that ground us in the experiences and relationships that have shaped us and guided us as we live out our various callings in the world. For some, the coming Thanksgiving celebrations will be one of these times, when the sights and sounds and smells and tastes of the various gatherings will remind us of who we are and who we are called to become. For others, it may be that time spent in our houses of worship—in the pew, in the pulpit, around the altar, in the choir loft—may remind us what matters most in life. And for others, it may well be other places or other experiences that draw us back to our center and help us remember.
There is so much in our world that tries to distract us and blow us off course and move us out of the center that grounds us. I pray that we can all find a way, in the weeks and months to come, to find our way back to that center, the place in our lives in which we connect with God’s Holy and life-giving Spirit. Whether it be by speaking, listening, singing, praying, eating, dancing, or just sitting still, we remember these essential truths of our lives in Christ:
- We are loved
- We are created in love, for love
- God is not finished with us yet
May your holiday gatherings in the coming weeks, at home, at church, and wherever you may be, help you find your way back to the love that forms us, the love that will never let us go.
—Bishop Paul Erickson