E-Letter 179

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Devotions | 0 comments

Do different species of birds speak to one another? How do the finches and wrens and sparrows who frequent the feeders in my backyard know when it is safe to share millet? What alarms fill the morning skies clearing the way for the huge grackles to dominate the suet feeders? Why do the female cardinals dangle daintily on my drooping tomato plants waiting for the opportune moment to position themselves on the four posts of the sunflower feeder? How, exactly, do the hummingbirds discern which shift they must take to sip the sugary sweetness solo from the red silo occupying center stage in my backyard avian foodcourt? Who gives the anxious brown thrushes and the bully blue jays the thumbs up signal to swoop in and take over the birdbaths? Every morning I sit in quiet wonder and consider the Divine Presence orchestrating the care of these small, nameless, insignificant creatures. I sense a fellowship not only with the One Whose Eye Is On The Sparrow, but also with all those nameless early morning risers who awaken each day with outstretched hands to receive with gratitude the gift of the Kingdom beyond our making.

Over time, this contemplative practice at dawn has created in me a sense of humility that continues to shape my sense of finitude. Connectedness – knowing that I am not alone and that I live in an arc of relationships that include family, friends, and known and unknown kindred spirits – keeps me grounded and quells my fears of an unknown future filled with unimaginable changes. For some time, I have concluded my silent reflection whispering this prayer by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, and I share it with you hoping that it will fill your heart with comfort and thanksgiving.

A Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.

The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,

it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime

only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.

Nothing we do is complete,

which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.

No prayer fully expresses our faith.

No confession
brings perfection,

no pastoral visit brings wholeness.

No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.

No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about.

We plant the seeds that one
day will grow.

We water the seeds already planted

knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.

We provide yeast that produces effects

far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything,

and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.

This enables us to do something,

and to do it very well.

It may be incomplete,

but it is a beginning,

a step along the way,

an opportunity for the Lord’s
grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,

but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders,

ministers, not

We are prophets of a future not our own.