Wow, seems like just yesterday I was in Sheboygan worshiping with you all! It was such a blessing to be at Grace and to be able to visit with so many of you! I wish I could’ve visited with more of you, but the time home and the holidays made that difficult. Time keeps marching forward and, as I write this, second semester and Lent are right around the corner!
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about time. I’ve thought about how I fill it, how I use it, how I waste it, how I wish I had more of it, and how quickly it passes or drags on. Time is an amazing thing! “But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.” (2 Peter 3:8) This verse always comes to mind when I consider time. Lately, because of this verse, I’ve come to a different understanding about time: ALL of time belongs to God. Taking that approach has made me look at my own time in a new way. Every moment of my day belongs to God.
Now, I realize some of you may be thinking, “Well, of course you would, you’re at seminary!” However, ALL of time belonging to God is true for each of us. This became apparent to me during my January winterim class: “Digital Media for Ministry”. One of our assignments for the class was to come up with a “Digital Rule of Life”. In October, Bishop Matt presented the “Fond du Lac Rule of Life” with the hope that all of us consider it for our lives. I decided to use it as an outline for my digital application. I won’t go into all of the details, but what I will share is that I came to realize that, in many ways, the role of technology had shifted this fall from that of “tool” to that of “control mechanism” and “stress inducer”. Devising a Rule of Life for my technology became life giving.
One example is that I’ve now shut the email alert off on my phone. A very simple item, yet it has meant that instead of feeding the desire to look at and respond to emails as they arrive, I now set aside time specifically for emails…on my terms…including NOT looking at emails after 8 PM. As to “fasting”, social media now involves a timer. If I need to hop of Facebook to check on things and “stay connected” with you all, first I ask Siri to set a timer. The Facebook “scroll” is a time eater, to be sure! But, when I know that my timer is running, I’m sure to do what I need to in order to stay connected and not allow time to be sucked away that could be spent in other ways. Are you someone who takes the phone with you into the bathroom to “catch up” while “taking care of business”? Try putting a book back into the bathroom to read, instead. Simple things, yet they changed my relationship with technology and reduced stress.
I mention this to you now because Lent is right around the corner. In the days leading up to it, I’d encourage you to consider something other than giving up chocolate (or the like) for Lent. Consider the ways in which you can make changes in your life that will ultimately give time to God. Our bodies are God’s temple, Christ Walk: A 40-Day Spiritual Fitness Program by Anna Fitch Courie is a book I’ll be reading as part of my Lenten devotional this year. As many of you know, I started walking several years ago. However, my hope is that this devotional will help me discover new ways in which to dedicate my walking time to God. I’ll also be spending time reading Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God by Sybil MacBeth. Time spent with God in prayer is not only about what we offer up, but about what God has to share with each of us…sharing time.
I’m sure many of you heard of our recent snowstorm here in DC. Over 20 inches of snow in 36 hours! For this area, that is an ENTIRE season’s worth of snow in one snowfall. Yes, growing up in WI and the skills learned surviving multiple snowstorms served me well before, during, and after the storm. However, this snowstorm had me reflecting on what it means to do more than survive but to thrive. During our storm, in my apartment complex, there were those who hosted meals, those who shared shovels and/or shoveling, those who provided Eucharist in home churches, those who gathered for reading, games, and other activities. “Surviving” the blizzard provided ways for us to be the hands and feet of God in our community to all of our neighbors, beyond our fellow seminarians. It reminded me that, more than just surviving, God’s desire is for us to thrive in Him. Thriving in God takes place in community. This Lent, my prayer is for each of us to discover ways to do more than just survive, but thrive. Share your Lenten journey with others. Journey together. Maybe share the journey with a friend via Christ Walk. (Email me if you’re curious. Bakrafty1atgmaildotcom)
Keeping you all in my prayers and asking yours for Kaleigh and me. (Kaleigh’s has exams Feb 22-26.)
By His Love,