A few weeks ago I was in the mountains at Tall Timber Ranch, leading and participating in a pastors’ retreat. The sky always seems bluer in the mountains, the air crisper, and the colors more vibrant. And that was the case for our days away. We even took a hike at “the end of the road,” reveling in the colors, the waterfalls, and the absence of mosquitoes. Fall is truly a wonderful time of year.
While it was not the theme of the retreat, I was struck by the way life mirrors the natural seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. In our lives, we move through seasons of rapid growth, of basking in the sun, of shedding leaves, and of quiet reflection inside snuggled under the blankets when travel is difficult. The writer of Ecclesiastes famously wrote, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (3:1)
What is this season in your life? Are you in a time of rapid growth? A time of basking in the sun? A time of letting go of some of the leaves on the tree of your life? Or enjoying the quiet moments of winter and its austerity?
Mark and I have crested over from summer into fall. Our bodies are less reliable, the children are mostly out on their own now. At least some of the stuff we accumulated is now being given away, like leaves falling from the trees. It is a different season of life, but not a bad one. There is much more time in my days for ministry now that the kids are out of the house. I have even accepted a very part-time position (8-10 hours/week) with the Presbytery of Northwest Coast as their “Studio E3 Catalyst,” which means I will help existing congregations as they seek out options for renewal and revitalization in their context. E3 is the shorthand for “Engage, Equip, and Encourage,” which is how the Presbytery understands its mission with regards to its ministers and congregations. This complements the work I have been doing on the Presbytery Commission on Ministry (COM) for these last six years. 2018 is my last year on the COM, so the timing is pretty good with regards to my workload. I will begin this position in mid-October.
As we move from one season into another I would encourage you (and me) to take a moment to appreciate the gifts of the previous seasons, and to breathe into the gifts of the new season.
With thanks for your partnership in Ministry here at Edmonds Presbyterian,