Feb. 23, 2012

Good morning all!  Welcome to Lent!

Today’s scripture: PSALM 27:1-5

1   The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2   When evildoers assail me
to devour my flesh —
my adversaries and foes —
they shall stumble and fall.
3   Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.
4   One thing I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to inquire in his temple.
5   For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.

I have been reading quite a bit lately about leadership and there seems to be some consistent threads.  In the current book I am reading, the author talks a lot about the leader being an artist.  In order to really lead from an authentic spot, someone needs to allow their artistry and creativity shine through.  At the same time, this means trudging through fear and resistance.  This is the other common thread.  In order to lead and follow passion, authors have been telling me that we have to get through the fear of taking those risks to follow vision.  Logically, this makes a lot of sense, right?  But on a very real level this can cause anxiety.  What is my fear? What holds me back?  Why am I not moving forward?

So when I began to think about all of this, I noticed that a friend of mine posted this on facebook…
Ah-Ha!  Perhaps my anxiety was coming from not really knowing what my fear was.  What if I looked at this as attempting new things?  For me, this opens the door in a different way which looks a little like this….
  or this….   or even this….  !
Basically, this could change everything.  Instead of dread while I struggle through resistance into creativity, what if I looked at my life as a leader in terms of new doors and open moments when I knew I could not fail?  And perhaps that is what our psalmist is saying to us this morning.  What if you knew that God had your back? Who (or what) would you fear? If you know that God is present in all moments, why is everyday seeming so scary?  What if it transformed into a new possibility or a new chance to experiment?  Yes, we might fail but that only leads to more art, right?  So perhaps that is not failing after all….
Last night I took a chance.  We did something different for Ash Wednesday service.  I found a liturgy that I really liked and tweaked it and rewrote parts of it to fit our setting.  We had a meal together and shared ashes and bread and wine around tables.  I was soooo nervous.  I found myself thinking, “why didn’t we just go with the sanctuary and what people expected? What if this doesn’t work out? what if people don’t like it? what if it all falls to pieces?”  And at first it looked like it would in my mind….the tables weren’t shaping up as I had envisioned, people didn’t have what they needed, we didn’t have enough bulletins because so many people were coming, and it felt not as well planned as I hoped.  But then, miracle of miracles happened…a mistake was made.  In fact, it was so funny that it transformed the experience for me.  I failed for one part and it was ok and it made it all better.  I can’t take it too seriously because then we won’t go any further….
The service worked for what it needed to do and the feedback was great.  People had a worshipful experience and were touched by different pieces of it all.  Was it all perfect? No! but it was art and far from failure.  May this season be a place of art for you.
Prayer: O God, sometimes we get so caught up in wanting everything to go just as we plan forgetting that perhaps when things go as they should, doors open to you.  Allow us to see that we can step out on a ledge to get closer to you and you have our backs along the way. Amen.

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