Step Away from ANYTHING that Shrinks or Numbs You: Old First E-pistle 01.21.16

Step Away from ANYTHING that Shrinks or Numbs You: Old First E-pistle 01.21.16

A colleague of mine, the Rev. Dominique A., shared a horoscope with me. It wasn’t like most horoscopes I’ve read (but then I don’t read many horoscopes!);

On a clear day, if you stand at the summit of Costa Rica’s Mount Irazú, you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s not hard to get there. You can hop a tourist bus in San José, and be 11,200 feet high two hours later.

This is a good model for your next assignment: Head off on a stress-free jaunt to a place that affords you a vast vista.

If you can’t literally do that, at least slip away to a fun sanctuary where you’ll be inspired to think big thoughts about your long-range prospects.

You need a break from everything that shrinks or numbs you.

I like this horoscope. Less a prediction; it’s more of a timely assignment. Perhaps, my appreciation, in part, comes from this first really cold, snowy week, I like the reminder that it’s warm someplace in the world. And that it’s not impossible to escape!

But that’s not what I liked most about the horoscope. I like the suggestion that that one can find “Sabbath time and space” — defined in the horoscope as ‘where you can get a bigger view of things, with space enough for more important thoughts and long-ranging prospects.’ To do that, so the prescription goes, we need to find some refuge for whatever shrinks or numbs us. Wow!

Do you often enough remember that you need to get some perspective, a wide or long view of things? And that profound reflections and dreams are needed for even the most mundane day in and day out living?

And do you remember that to be able, realistically, to rise to such heights — even from time to time — you need to be able to step away from whatever shrinks or numbs you!

And even better, the horoscoper suggests that if you can’t get to Mt. Irazú — or far enough from any place that feels limiting in your daily life — that a sanctuary might offer what you need. Ok, maybe the horoscope used the word more metaphorically — as safe space, protected from what diminishes and deadens?

But, not surprisingly, I thought of an actual sanctuary. Our sanctuary at Old First. I love going over to the church when the building is quiet and the sun is pouring through the west windows. Depending on the time of year, it can be sort of chilly or warm in there. But there’s a quiet. A holy stillness. And empty space that’s not without substance. And light. Peace. Room for remembering what’s important. And who I am. And what I’m supposed to be about…

I wish we could leave our main building unlocked so that anyone could use that sacred space whenever needed. I remember reading once that a pastor in London put a sign up in front of his church that read: “The Sanctuary will be unlocked and open each day, so that you might enter in… and in the music or in the silence, you might notice God… and the life hidden in each of us will begin to rise.”

Whenever you need some space, and can’t get away to the tropics or to mountaintops, feel free to come by church, and ask to be let into the Sanctuary. No questions asked.

But unquestionably there will be provided: holy space, time away, and remembering who you are and what you are to do — for a bigger perspective and a longer look.

See you in church,

Michael