Dear Faith Leader:
In November, we mark twenty months of the pandemic, twenty months of loss, and for those serving in ministry, twenty months of a particularly challenging time. You’ve dealt with all kinds of struggles while trying to stay in community with those you have been called to serve.
You’ve wrestled with questions like:
· How do I provide pastoral care when I can’t visit in person?
· How do we have worship virtually?
· When do we meet again safely?
· Will the people come back after being away so long?
· What happens to the church financially?
And I know these issues, all these questions and more, all the people you care about who are suffering, have taken a toll.
So, as we look ahead to the season of Advent and the last couple of months in this year, I am writing to encourage you to practice self-care. Instead of jumping into a busy liturgical season and overscheduling yourself, instead of trying to make up for last year’s missed holidays or for what you perceive has been lacking, let this be a different celebration, a different way of “getting ready” for the coming of Christ.
Like a woman in her last months of pregnancy, and her partner who supports her, prepare yourself for this life change, of God’s incarnation. We say to women in their eighth and ninth months, “take it easy, stay off your feet, nest and rest, feel the love around and within you.” And I’m saying that to you.
Your health (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual) is vital to your work. Staying well is necessary to continue in your ministry. Being rested contributes to the wellbeing of your entire community.
If you need support, reach out to those who can give that to you. If you have overcommitted yourself, step back, and if you need a break, take it.
Christ will come and his coming doesn’t depend upon our perfect planning of a sermon series or the well-rehearsed and executed children’s pageant, or the extra worship services we hold. Christ comes in the midst of all that is not perfect. In fact, Christ shows up in what is usually not well-planned. He comes in the sleeping quarters of work animals, in the sky above hills of lone shepherds and their flocks of sheep, from the womb of a young peasant girl in a city crowded with strangers. Christ comes and if we are like the innkeepers in Bethlehem, our minds and hearts occupied above capacity like the rooms in their inns, we might, without even knowing it, turn him away, missing the moment of his birth among us.
So, as we move towards the season of Advent, in these last two months of a most difficult year, stay off your feet, rest and nest, enjoy stillness, foster silence, step out of the chaos, and feel the love around and stirring within you. Christ will come.
May it be so.
You are the light of the world.
NMCC Conference Director
Some tips for wellness:
· Take your days off
· Honor your Sabbath
· Enjoy time with those you love and those who are a source of joy for you
· Get outside – walk around the block, take a hike, drive up the mountain
· Find reasons to smile
· Practice gratitude
· Make healthy food and drink choices
· Go to bed early
· Drink plenty of water
· Fall in love with the sacred stories
· Find a prayer partner
· Enjoy a retreat day – And YES! There is one available
FAITH LEADERS ADVENT RETREAT DAY
Monday, November 29, 10 am – 2 pm (with lunch served)
Covenant Presbyterian Church
9315 Candelaria Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87112
(Held inside and outside with Covid Safety Practices in place)
Sponsored by NMCC, facilitated by Lynne Hinton
To register: Contact Lynne at email@example.com
Please share this with the faith leaders you care about!