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The Right Question (and who gets to ask it)

Some notes I keep the old fashioned way.
File folder.
Scraps of papers.
Articles torn from newspapers (remember those!).
Scribbled notes copied and recopied as file folders wear out.
One of those scribbled notes on a file folder which is often on my desk rather than in my desk is a line from Genesis 3. God walking through the Garden of Eden looking for Adam and Eve who are now hiding from God. “Where are you?” God calls out as God walks through the Garden. You would think that from the way we usually talk and think about God that God would already know without having to ask.

But, anyway.
What a reversal from the way that question usually gets asked.
In thinking about God, aren’t we the ones usually in charge of the questions?
Challenging God by asking, “Where are you?”
Where were you when the storm hit?
Where were you when the illness struck?
Where are you when I don’t get what I want or what I think I need?
But, maybe we have it all wrong.
An ancient story would say that we do.
Maybe our asking the question this way is just one more way we hide from God.
What if God is the one to whom the question belongs.
Where are you?
Implying God is present and we are the ones who are absent or hiding or not paying attention.
If that is true, then what about this.
Walking into work tomorrow what if you imagined God calling out, “Where are you?”
Or, if not work, what about walking into school?
Or, standing in line at the grocery store?
Or, scrolling through the headlines in the news?
Where are you?

If you are not into using or thinking about the word God, insert whatever frame of reference is meaningful for you – compassion, kindness, your best self. Whatever word(s) you chose to use, the question remains and maybe it THE question we should consider each day.

The Me I Am Called to Be

I am

 

A reflection written by the Rev. Christine Chakoian, a friend and fellow Presbyterian minister ended with this:
“But over time, work took over again.  Don’t get me wrong – I love my work. But it had become everything: tending parishioners, walking the nave, reading theology, writing sermons. I forgot my calling to be me…” (Presbyterian Outlook – August 5,  2013)

I don’t know about you…
Sometimes I barely know about me,
But how many of us, I wonder, find ourselves in that exact same place defining ourselves or being defined by that which we do…
Banker
Pastor
Business owner
Parent
Partner
Care giver
Rather than who we sense we truly are when all the other layers are stripped away?
We have forgotten our calling to be me.

Maybe it is a factor of my getting older, but I am searching for that me which sometimes pushes itself a bit closer to the surface of my life and which, other times, disappears hidden beneath my own list of expectations I have for myself and, sometimes, the expectations of others. Here is what I realized as I read and thought about Christine’s reflection. For many years I have worked hard at my calling to be a pastor to honor that commitment and to do the best job I could. If I am going to honor my calling to be me, I need to give that task the same time and attention and thoughtfulness I have given the job I am privileged to do. And, if that is the case, I am left with this question.  Am I up to the task?