Listening to a podcast the other day challenged me to think a little about where I am at the moment – in terms of how I express my faith and beliefs.
The idea presented in the podcast was that of the sabbath year – the period of rest for the land that was proscribed by the Levitical law once in every seven years.
It would be too easy to get caught up on the technicalities of the concept, but what really struck me was the idea that we need periods of rest and recovery – periods when we allow the land to be fallow and to recover its ‘goodness’ before moving on into a new season.
That got me thinking.
Those of you who’ve followed our journey ‘out’ from established expressions of religious practice will know that it’s been quite some time since we ‘did’ church. In many ways we slipped out the back door – a mixture of apathy and changing life circumstances meant that it was no longer a necessary for us.
In the intervening years we’ve talked about getting back into it from time to time, but it’s never really moved on from being a conversation. Too much about what happens in an established church gathering just ‘feels’ like a bad fit for where we are at the moment.
I’ve been around long enough now to know that sometimes you just have to get over yourself – that nothing is ever perfect. But on the other hand, what we’ve struggled with (as previously explored) is more than just a few tweaks here or there, making it hard to turn a blind eye (or ear!) to the stuff that just doesn’t work for us.
What if, however, this period of being ‘out’ has been our ‘fallow’ time? A chance to recover, to allow recovery and re-energising towards whatever it is that our next season is.
I now know that I still believe in ‘church’ – although I think that what I mean by that might be a little different to what the majority of people do.
I think, now, that having been through a period of working out what doesn’t work, I need to spend some time experimenting with what might be possible.
To be honest, I don’t know what that might be.
Previously I might have got hung up on mid to long term planning – the sense of what should it be somewhere down the road. Perhaps that’s what has stopped us for moving forward.
Something I’ve recently read has made me rethink this – to simply consider and then take step one. Steps 2 onwards will become clear as and when they arise.
Tomorrow will sort itself out. Today is enough.
For now, step one is is all that’s needed.
It’s scary, and I don’t want to do it alone, but I do want to be part of something that tries to think through and then acts out what it means to be a community of Jesus followers.
That’s worth a risk or two.