Dear Friends in Christ,
“Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke.” (Exodus 34:1)
I have been doing some stonecutting this week.
Like many clergy, I am a part of a colleague group. I began meeting with these peers almost twenty years ago, when the “Clergy Chicks” were figuring out what it meant to be young, female priests in a tradition that valued older men. We shared advice on how to prepare a bible study and where to buy the best clergy shirts.
I was blessed to find a group that connected down deep, and over time we shared much more than professional advice. One person was widowed young; another retired early because of disability. We all became parents, one way or another. We talked less about church and more about God. We came to trust in a whole that was more than the sum of its parts.
And then, something eroded.
It wasn’t terrible or violent. A lot of it was the pandemic. The gulf grew wider than Zoom calls. History, we realized, was a foundation but not necessarily a promise.
Which is how I found myself renewing a covenant this week. For the first time in over five years, we gathered in person, with the intention not only of connecting but also establishing a renewed commitment to one another. Community may start by accident, but it does not continue that way.
I share this story with you because I think many of us are in this season of re-examination and renewal. It may be connections at Grace Church. It may be elsewhere in life. The inertia of our old patterns was profoundly disrupted by the pandemic.
What connections are worth preserving now? I suggest that you use these quieter days of summer to think about the relationships and communities that are truly life giving to you.
And then—once you know what those are—think about how to re-write that commitment. What needs your attention? What has been implied that needs to be made explicit? Who needs to know that they are a priority for you?
Even things that are written in stone have to be re-written every once in a while, if they are to last.
Yours in Christ,