A Holy Pause?

This is a different pastor’s column. Originally, I was going to write about our Congregation Wide Day of Service. I was excited to tell you about the opportunities that awaited on Saturday morning—opportunities to create welcoming and nurturing spaces in the Education Building, to help resource partner churches, to work in community to feed and shelter neighbors in need, and more. I was excited to write about the opportunity and the gift we find in service; however, the Day of Service has been postponed. Instead of serving, we’re looking ahead to a day of snow. I wonder; however, if this isn’t a different opportunity… and a gift.

In college, I would join friends at the weekly Shabbat dinner for the Jewish community. I remember arriving to help during the hours that proceeded sundown. There was a rush to set the table, pull the challah from the oven, make sure the food was out and ready. There was a rush of preparation so that once the Sabbath began, nothing else needed to be done. You could feel a deep sigh as candles were lit and prayers sung. The space itself slowed as everyone shifted from the rush of the week to the rest of the Sabbath.

I wonder if the next few days couldn’t be a similar opportunity to pause. Our days are packed. They are filled with good things—learning, projects to serve, work and play. But sometimes they are so full that we forget to breath and to be present with our families, with God and even with ourselves. I wonder if a few inches of snow might just be an invitation to such a holy pause.

We all need pauses to process our lives, to nurture our imaginations, to build our relationships, to restore ourselves. Sometimes we even need pauses so that we are prepared to be better servants and stewards in God’s world. It is powerful to pause and to remember that the world will continue without our frantic action. So enjoy the privilege some snow may bring. 

Over the next few days, please pray for those in our community who may not be able to stay at home on wintery days; for those whose homes are not warm enough or safe enough for the elements; for first responders and emergency shelters who will handle the very real human suffering that comes with a storm; and for yourself. May God keep us all warm, still and safe on these winter days.