17 Sep Pastor’s Paragraph for September 20, 2020
Pastor's Paragraph for September 20, 2020
SEPTEMBER 20, 2020
It is so very good to return to the Camp Hill UMC community after renewal leave!
This morning I re-wrote that sentence three times. At first, I wrote that it was good to be back in the office – but then I remembered that we’re still in a season of maneuvering between church and home quarantine offices. Then I wrote that it’s good to be back in full-time ministry, but I realized that I never thought about it as leaving ministry. Renewal leave, for me, was a vital time of reconnecting with my primary identity – something that I have been praying for our whole community in this season.
Scripturally, I understand us all – before any other role or title – to be children of God. As a child, I loved to sing and dance around my living room when I thought no one was watching. I loved to create “abstract” pieces of art, spend lots of time reflecting, write about imaginary and real things, cuddle with my family, read, work in the garden, and spin worlds of relationship around my dolls.
Many children’s pursuits are set aside through the years, as life hands us myriad reasons to grieve and as we feel the weight of work and limits of time. Our expectations of ourselves and others sometimes prevent us simply from being – who we were made to be in the first place.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had in the stillness of this recent leave to reconnect with who I believe God made me to be and many spiritual practices and relationships that nurture both the person and pastor I have been and the one I am still called to become. I focused on four main areas called rest, renew, connect, and create. Upon reflection, each of those areas included some aspect of the childhood list that I shared above – perhaps with the exception of playing with dolls. I certainly found great joy and refreshment, though, in connecting with family and friends in deeply meaningful ways.
My prayer moving forward is that my personal and our communal patterns of life will be enriched by the restorative patterns of stillness, listening, and reflecting that I experienced. In what has been a life-altering season for us all, I thank God for the continued connection we have shared through the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I pray that as we find new ways of connecting moving forward, the Spirit will continue to do a renewing, rebirthing work in us together.
With love and gratitude,
Rev. Anna Layman Knox