A New Day

Now is the time to enjoy your heart’s desire,
To live the dreams you’ve waited for,
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source.

JOHN O’DONOHUE

I write this on my second full week as a retired pastor. For fifteen days I haven’t had to go anywhere or do anything. Each morning I receive an email reminder from my Google calendar which states that “You have no events scheduled today.” There is no sermon to prepare, no reflection to write, no meeting to attend, no church to visit. It is weird.

Of course, I had been working remotely from home the last eight months; so, in many ways, this is no different. However, sometimes during those previous months, the mornings would usually find me preparing for an electronic (Zoom) meeting of some sort. I will still have those from time to time. The difference is that they may or may not be obligatory. Grace gives me the right to say, “NO.”

A couple weeks ago, my friend and colleague, Bishop Daniel Beaudoin of the Northwestern Ohio Synod, read a blessing to close an electronic farewell gathering in my honor. It was titled “For Retirement,” a portion of which is quoted above. I so appreciated the blessing that I bought the book from which it was taken, To Bless the Space Between Us.

The words of the blessing provide wise counsel. Among other things, It talks about opening my life to what is left undone, to let my heart enjoy a different rhythm, and to have the courage for a new approach to time. I will make use of the advice as I go forward in this liminal time. I pray that it will guide my steps along the path to which God is leading me.

Of course, as you will also read on my “About” page on this website, I still feel that I have more to say on a variety of topics. So I’ve revived this blog after several years of inactivity. As of now, I have no schedule as to when I’ll post, nor do I have any idea what direction I will take. It is a work in progress. There’s a lot from my old website that I haven’t carried over. I’m still weighing the value of all the items from my previous site. It’s similar to moving into a new office. How much of the old will I bring along with me? What do I keep? What do I throw away?

One thing I do know I’ll do. That is, I’ll post more on here than on Facebook. For a long time, I’ve considered weaning myself away from that platform, if not leaving it altogether. I have found it a thief of time. I’ve frequently expressed my frustration with writing thoughtful pieces that seldom get read. But put up a cat photo and the whole world (or so it seems) erupts in admiration. So, if you want to read more of me, you’ll have to look here and not there.

I will also not be commenting on synod related matters. I can’t emphasize that strongly enough. I am no longer the bishop. I am retired. So, I speak for myself, not for any organization or institution.

That’s it for now. I have Advent thoughts to share, so, watch this space over the next few days.

Published by pastorallende

Retired Bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Social justice and immigration reform advocate. Micah 6:8. Fluent in English and Spanish. I enjoy music and sports.

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