“We Make the Road by Walking”

mclarenThat is the title of a Brian McLaren book that has been sitting on my shelf for nearly two years. It’s funny I have not read the book, but I have both used and heard others use the title as sort of a theme for the Christian journey in this time.

I am thinking about that title today as I ponder how rapidly my priorities and my emotional life is shifting. Four days ago I made the commitment to start blogging on a daily basis in order to give us tools for how to interpret the significant and probably radical change that we are experiencing.

I was telling a friend yesterday that had this been normal times we might have encouraged our churches to make a trial run of live-streamed and recorded services, but we would have planned it for at least two years in the future. You know, it’s important not to make big changes too rapidly! The COVID-19 virus forced us to make that same jump in a matter of days. We are in a new world now!

But today I want to tell you that I am not sure that daily blogging is going to serve us well. I am not sure that it isn’t either. Four days ago it was clear. We had been forced to make sudden and radical changes. Churches scrambled to figure out how to live in Christian community without physically gathering. The presbytery office re-organized itself and its priorities almost overnight. I felt that if we didn’t reflect on those changes immediately and daily we would lose the opportunity that this unwelcome intruder has given us.

this wayBut as I said in my blog post on Saturday (How Quickly Things Shift) it seems that we only know how to act and how to feel about one day at a time. I had made a commitment to blog daily because I thought I knew how this was going to unfold. Silly me! I thought I was able to project into the future and start providing a road map to negotiate our way to a post COVID-19 future. I was way too overconfident. Every day has a new and unexpected challenge. I am lucky to know what tomorrow will bring much less next June.

I am not saying that I won’t continue regular blogging. I may still blog daily. I may blog only when the spirit nudges me (whether that is twice a week or ten times a week). I may return to my usual Thursday blog. What I am saying is that making future promises is naïve at best at this point.

I can’t tell you exactly how much I will blog. But I can tell you that I promise to be responsive to the needs of the presbytery and to our communities. I promise to look for God in this precarious moment and invite you to look for God as well. I promise to be flexible and adaptable and change day by day, if needed, and as needed. I promise to be present even if I can’t promise what that will look like day to day and week to week.

“We Make the Road by Walking” writes McLaren.

It is the language of pilgrimage.

It is the language of unfolding.

It is the language of trust.

We put one foot in front of another.

We follow the holy breadcrumbs.

And we trust.

By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades

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