Friday, August 10, 2018

Rest Steps (OR Day 2 of Return to Pastorland Post-Sabbatical)

Way down the list of Colorado’s Top 100 peaks is Mount Silverheels ranking 96th. Over supper one cold winter evening, our friends and Rob and I concocted a master plan to climb said peak. Two of our friends are mountaineers with the gear and peak tally befitting the title. The rest of us are not. July rolled around and we started throwing around the euphemism “Gentle Giant” to describe Mount Silverheels. I’m not entirely sure what I thought it was going to be like but I’m pretty sure I’d lulled myself into complacency. This will come as no surprise to anyone but that thing was a beast. A huge, green, rocky beast that steepened as the top loomed. 

About a mile before the top, one of our mountaineer friends coached us through rest steps. The gist is that you can make it to the top of just about anything if you slow your steps way down, resting briefly between each one. Picture a slow bridal march and you get the idea. Rest steps were key to my bagging the peak. We all made it. A glorious, 360 degree view of peaks and valleys, blue sky, and puffy white clouds, not a thunderstorm in sight. 

Rest steps. (Don’t be surprised if they show up in a sermon.) The experience has me thinking about life in general and my work in particular. And, of course, sabbatical. I’m beyond grateful for the recent sabbatical that is a significant “rest step” in my pastoral call with the people of Augustana. It’s given me time to literally rest. And it’s given me time to think about how we take rest steps together as Jesus people in a world longing for hope. 

Sunday worship is one such rest step for me. My first day back in the office, I asked Cindy (intrepid organist) to accompany me through practicing the prayer chants for communion. It’d been awhile, you know. Cindy played the cue notes and I sang, “The Lord be with you…” I barely made it through “Lift up your hearts…” My throat tightened and my eyes welled. My second day back and I’m in my office writing this piece. I’ve missed being in the rest step of worship with these dear people and I’m glad to be back, looking forward to Sunday and more. 

Rest steps in progress...

Mount Silverheels 13,329'/4,215m (Prominence 2,283')



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