I’m not Saint Paul’s biggest fan, but, more and more of late, I have found my mind, for some reason, recalling verses penned by him. This morning after church someone looked around at the crowd and said, “Well, it looks like it all finally clicked.” I knew exactly what they meant. After many months of doing what we knew were the right things, we finally have reached the tipping point in terms of size and giving where the congregation is truly sustainable for an enduring future.
I had two responses to that person’s observation, but I didn’t say either one. The first was, “It sure took longer than I expected,” which is the nature of church today. The other was to hear in my soul the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians. I heard them, as I almost always do, in the form of the old King James version of the Bible, from which I memorized scripture as a kid. Paul wrote, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”
Ain’t that the truth?!? It is a lesson I have had to learn over and over. When I was a kid learning to ride a bicycle I fell again and again until, suddenly, something clicked and I had a new skill I have never lost. Then, many years later, attempting to teach my daughters the same skill, I ran along beside them trying to remember how that felt, until suddenly it clicked for them. No doubt there is an explanation for these moments, but we’ve all had them.
I suspect we also have had those moments when we fell and didn’t get up to try again and thus never discovered that, given one more attempt, it would have clicked for us. As I have looked out at the crowds that have filled our church this year, I smile, grateful that I didn’t give up too soon. My real joy, though, is knowing that, just as I kept running along behind my daughters even when they thought they would never learn, God keeps running along behind me. God won’t force me to keep trying, but, as long as I am willing, God, too, is willing to run along, cheering me on and supporting me, even whispering the words of St. Paul reminding me not to give up too soon because I never know when the season is due.
Rev. Michael Piazza