Pastor’s Page, January 2020

Pastor’s Page Jan. 2019

Happy 2020 everyone! I hope you have a safe and satifsfying new year. Growing up, winter on the farm was a time for fixing everything that needed fixing, planning for spring planting, keeping the livestock alive, and snowmobiling! The energy shifted away from the intensity of autumn harvest. But it would be a mistake to think that nothing was going on under the snow blanket that covered the fields and forests. Winter is a time of intense natural activity. We imagine nothing is happening only because we can’t see it. 

William Bridges in his classic, Transitions, writes about times in transition when it seems like nothing is happening. We might find ourselves feeling bored or restless in the “neutral zone.” The neutral zone is the chaotic period between the ending of the old thing and the beginning of the new. What was it like for the Israelites during their 40 years in the wilderness? They left the terror of Egypt but they had not yet reached the Promised Land. In between I can imagine any number of people coming to Moses asking, “Are we there, yet?” In fact, the story of that time is one of continual complaining on the part of God’s people. God was patient. But the Bible is clear that most of those complainers did not end up in the Promised Land. So, what’s the alternative?

Modern ecology has taught us a lot about what goes on underground during the winter. Roots deepen, strengthen, and reach out to make new connections. All kinds of plants store up energy for the burst of growth in spring. 

If you’re feeling bored and restless and complain-y this month, come see me, but only if you’re willing to be put to work building new connections in the community and planning new ways to reach out. Winter is a time when folks can feel especially isolated. Remember that old saying, “If you want a friend, be a friend?” What would happen if everyone who signed up for “Souper Saturday” (see below) were expected to bring a friend along with their appetizer? Wouldn’t that be exciting? Be warned. If you come to me with your winter blahs, you may walk away with an invitation to find someone else to cheer up!

Author: toddyonkman

I am a husband, father, author, and Designated Term Transitional Pastor of First Church of Christ in Saybrook (CT).

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