Sabbatical 2023. This time, it’s Pastor Jim’s turn. That’s right, Pastor Jim will be going on sabbatical starting Monday, June 5, 2023, and will return to us on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. A dedicated group of leaders will be helping with the preaching, visiting, music, and technical stuff.
Sabbaticals are a time for tuning our ears, for listening carefully, for discerning the texture and quality of our own paths, for attending to God’s unceasing, creative plea amidst the noise of cultural pressures, the busyness of life, and our own self-limiting habits. Sabbaticals are for pastors and for congregations.
We are invited to join Pastor Jim in our own way and discern. Some of our Sabbatical discernment may be straightforward-we will attend to things and carry on. We may need to curb a habit, or we may need to follow through with a responsibility.
Cultivating a spark of servanthood in the ongoing process of discernment, which I think is the more subtle invitation of the Sabbatical, is not always so straightforward. It involves a risky self-evaluation and a commitment to rethink and rework everything we know and are. God is always calling us into a more generous place so that we can love and serve more authentically.
What will that look like for each of us? Spiritual life is not a generic undertaking. Rather, it involves the unique encounter of a particular person with a God who dares and continues to dare to be incarnate in human form. The spiritual life is never twice the same. Always utterly new, always surprising, the human meeting with God through the discernment of spirits invites us to become listeners to God’s voice heard among the multitude of voices crowding the human heart. We must be open to hearing the surprising message it may bring.