I’ve recently discovered the music of Carrie Newcomer. I know, I know… so many people I trust have recommended her to me and I’ve not paid attention. I’m late to the party, but it’s not because I haven’t received multiple invitations!
These last few months I’ve been listening to her “You can do this hard thing” on repeat.
The song begins with the image of a young person attempting to do math, and hearing the encouragement of another who says, “You can do this hard thing. It’s not easy I know, but I believe that it’s so. You can do this hard thing.”. Other images are introduced, each being followed by the chorus.
I weep each time I hear it. There is something about having someone acknowledge that the work is difficult combined with the promise that you have what you need to accomplish it that task. It’s the voice of a good parent, a good friend… and I believe these words resonate with the Gospel as well.
The bridge of the song includes a variation of Art Berg’s “While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer”. There’s wisdom in knowing the difference between the two as well as wisdom in discerning what we are being called to do.
In other words, I embrace that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, but I’m not convinced that Christ is calling me to do all the impossible things… if that makes sense?
As we emerge from the pandemic (I’m still holding my breath… and wearing a mask!) re-entry may be harder than we thought. There’s such joy at gathering in-person, but there may also be lingering anxiety…. which means we will need to be doubly gracious. No doubt we’ve also learned a bit about our work as the church, and that will bring up further questions (and debates!). It’s been wonderful extending the possibilities of virtual worship to those previously excluded, but are we willing to look beyond the occasional awkward moments as cameras are moved and sound is adjusted? These can be hard (but not impossible!) discussions at a time when all we want is that experience of joy.
Some congregations are facing more difficult… if not impossible questions. The first step is discerning if these are indeed the questions we should be raising. Staffing changes, shifts in mission emphasis, questions about the viability of church buildings – impossible things? Or are these questions whose answers will take a bit longer to resolve?
You can do this hard thing. It’s not easy, I know… but I believe that it’s so. You can do this hard thing.
Prayers for us all as we approach all the hard and impossible questions. If I can take this journey with you, please let me know.