For the Living of These Days—A Word from Renee Purtlebaugh

     There’s a chill in the air this morning as I write from the comfort of my front porch. The sun surrounded by a yellow glow hasn’t yet risen above the trees. The birds are chirping and flying about, and a brilliant red cardinal has flown by just barely hovering above the railings. A robin perches and turns about, pivoting and looking around as if to wonder, “What does the day hold? Where to next?” before taking flight. The dull roar of the interstate and its traffic fills the air, as does the sound of a jet still unseen but loudly heard overhead. The flourish of sound is simultaneously loud, and yet also intricate and simple. Closing one’s eyes allows each unique song to be teased apart from the mix of the whole.

     It occurs to me as I sit and listen and watch from my own perch, that perhaps Church is a bit like this. A cacophony of sound, effort, practice, the living of our days as a corporate body in the world seeking to be like the One whom we follow to the best of our current ability. And while we feel the connectedness and encouragement that comes as gift while gathering in the sacred space of our sanctuary on Sunday, during the week we are suddenly and necessarily scattered out about, sounds and needs coming from every which way.

     But when we take that moment to slow down, to breathe, to close our eyes, we see and hear the Divine working around and through each one of us. The birdsong becomes our response to the call to collect items to assist immigrants. The sun still rising through the trees becomes nurturing our children and parents in their faith as the last day of school has/will soon arrive and summer freedom gives a new shape to each day. The dull roar of the interstate becomes our coming and going, the promise of faithful Jesus followers impacting everyday conversations and approaches to clients and patients and fellow humans on the journey of life. The leaves blowing in the breeze become the reminder of God’s grand creativity on the earth and our call to be part of tending it and renewing its health each day. The cool air becomes the call to pay attention to the beautiful life that fills our bones and the breath that fills our lungs.

     All around us, and within us, we are reminded that flourishing is possible. The potential is boundless. And so, as we prepare to courageously step forward and take flight, we wonder together as the people of God, “What does this day hold? Where to next?”