It is my experience that returning from a sabbatical is like trying to jump on a train which is going full speed (at best), or a plane in mid flight (at worst). The months before and after a sabbatical tend to be quite busy and full. It is also a time when change is in the air and I have found that it is important to take time to process the changes that are occurring. One of the big changes for us at St. John’s is the upcoming departure of Deborah McKean as our deacon. She and her husband, Phil, are moving to California in late April. They will be back for awhile this summer and we will have a time to officially thank her for all that she has been and done for us.
There were several things I gained from sabbatical that I saw as being very important, and things I want to be deliberate in nurturing in the midst of the busyness and change. The first thing is the extreme importance of worship in our lives. Traveling to other churches and not having to worry about details found me immersed in the joy of worship. If we do not have healthy worship it will manifest itself in unhealthy ways and attach itself to things not meant to be worshiped. The other discovery I found again is at the root of everything for me and that is how wonderful and life changing it is to be loved by and to love our Lord Jesus. As in any relationship, it is easy to find ourselves lost in the day to day frustrations and challenges; to be blinded by familiarity and expectations. Getting away and seeing each other in new ways and remembering the profound delight and love between two people is a treasure.
To do so with the source of our very life and love is even more brilliant. We have a jewel, a potential and a gift that is far more precious than water or breath in the forgiving reality of the love of Jesus. The experience of this faith, this encounter, has been guiding people for thousands of years, and with that we so often only look at ways it has been misused.
To meet again and discover anew this love is our daily opportunity.
- the Rev. Peter Jenks