The last few days I’ve been in Baltimore with other Mid-Council leaders. It was a few days of all of us asking hard questions about what a Presbytery is and what it does. Amidst keynotes, workshops and informal conversations with colleagues who are wrestling with similar challenges and opportunities I heard stories of our Church.
In the middle of that there was a brief conversation with someone who quoted from “The Hitchhiker’s’ Guide to the Galaxy”. I’m not going to attempt to summarize the book (impossible!), but the words “Don’t Panic” are written on the cover of the Guide because it looked “insanely complicated to operate” and to “keep folks from panicking”.
Those were the words I needed to hear. J. Herbert Nelson preached similar words at the Mid-Council Gathering. He reminded us that although we may not know where the path may take us, we know that Jesus knows.
My hunch is this resonates with a number of churches in this Presbytery. My hunch is this resonates with a number of us, period.
The world is a whirlwind right now. Between glaciers melting and the posturing of global leaders, we’ve got families in need of food and housing and issue of injustice all around us. The harvest is great; the workers are few. More than of few of us (individuals, churches) are feeling compassion fatigue. It’s nothing specific… it’s a conglomeration of everything that makes life seem inherently insanely complicated to operate. It’s all too easy to panic.
Now, the words “Don’t Panic” isn’t exactly written on the cover of our Holy text… and within the covers are all sorts of stories of faithful folk who did just that (panic!). But the words the Resurrected Jesus speaks to the disciples in that Upper Room echo the words Douglas Adams penned.
Peace be with you. Don’t panic.
There is much work ahead for all of us – Cay-Syr Presbies and all the rest. We know, however, that our God remains in the middle of it. What is our only comfort in life and in death? That we are not our own. That we belong, body and soul, both in life and in death to our faithful savior.