A Rare Abundance of Time
What of the wisdom from above? First it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts. - James 3:17-18
As I speed down country roads, knowing patrol cars are few and far between in rural Wisconsin on a Saturday morning, I try to listen to my friend Claudia while a to-do list ticker scrolls through my mind: Set up altar for love feast, tripod, camera, does Tyler need help with sound?, practice with dancers, talk to the reader about pacing…
It has been a hectic week in ministry, for both me and my husband Tyler, and this morning we are (among those) responsible for leading worship in a District gathering of the Wisconsin Annual Conference. We have an hour to rehearse music and dance with people who’ve only met on one other occasion and hopefully practiced on their own, and first we have to set up the altar, sound equipment, and video because Tyler now has to record every chance he gets to build a portfolio for job applications.
I can remain pretty cool and collected about stressful situations, on the surface, but in my mind I’m thinking, “There is not enough time for this, the service will be chaotic, why aren’t all the worship leaders here yet!? We must rehearse ASAP, the dancers won’t remember everything…”
When we gather around Amy for instruction, though, we receive a rare gift.
We had 30 minutes bestowed by God’s grace.
9:30 The service begins at 9:30.
We all expected to start at 9:00, but thanks to some clerical error, the Conference website said worship begins at 10:00. Naturally we split the difference. Calm swept over me. We had 30 minutes bestowed by God’s grace. Not only did we have plenty of time to prepare ourselves for the service, everyone knew what to do and stepped into their roles with ease. We ended up with a full 20 minutes of peace before the call to worship.
During those moments of quiet I prepared my heart; I thanked God for providing; I remembered that this service wasn’t all on my shoulders, that many voices would make it meaningful, and that most importantly, God prepared and provided for all of us to be present with our gifts in service.
We need time to notice God’s presence, to consider God’s will.
I also questioned why I do not naturally plan this space of meditation into my daily responsibilities. Having this “extra” time forced on me, though, made me realize that it wasn’t extra at all. That time was needed for me to be in the best state of mind and heart to lead worship. It is needed for all activity. To be human-beings to the glory of God, we need time to think and pray. We need time to notice God’s presence, to consider God’s will. We need time for error and for repentance. We need those 20 minutes (at least).
Questions for Thought and Discussion:
- Are you generally at peace when you have an upcoming responsibility?
- When has God surprised you with a smooth-running event or situation? Do you acknowledge God for incidents that may seem random or coincidental?
- How often do you enjoy silence?
- What would it take for you to have 20 minutes a day to prepare your heart and mind for: work/ school/ responsibilities?
- Is there another type of preparation that you might give up in order to have moments of prayerful preparation?