As an interim pastor I find there are times when I am not actively serving a congregation. I have left one, but not yet begun at the next. For awhile that's OK. I usually can use a bit of a rest after the intensity of saying goodbye to a congregation I have grown to love. But after awhile, I seem to be getting a bit spiritually sleepy. It is too easy to not follow the hours of prayer and to let Lectio Devina, a way of reading scripture for transformation instead of information, slip away too. One reason I am looking forward to beginning my next Interim Pastorate is that it will shake away the tendency sleep and allow me to begin growing again.
Spiritual Sleepiness occurs in many congregations. But pick up the Gospel of Mark sometime and see how many times Mark uses the word "immediately." Everything in the book is fast paced. Unfortunately we cannot claim that type of pace is normal for congregation spiritual life. Perhaps, for example, there is a good idea to serve open a food pantry. We'll put the idea in committee, bring it to the church board floor to debate it, send it back to the committee for revisions, etc, etc . . .Then when we do get the idea approved we decide to impose rules like ones making people prove they need food. We get so bogged down in rules that we burn out our workers and the food pantry starts to suffer and serve fewer people. BTW, there is a rule of thumb here folks, if they are overcoming our culture's shame about having to ask for help, especially help to feed families, they really do need the food. Dump the forms, You make get conned once in awhile but didn't Jesus say to give to anyone who asks?
Our congregations are asleep and society is changing rapidly around us. If we are to do the work Jesus calls us to, we have to jump in and do it immediately. And we need to act on what Benedict is pointing out in his paraphrase of John., "Run whilst you have the light of life, that the darkness of death overtake you not" (Jn 12:35)." -
In our running may we more closely follow the path of our Lord and Savior.
Brother Oscar Romero
aka Pastor Frank Fisher
St. Benedict's Abbey