My wife and son are with me at a feast. Where are taking a few days as a family to enjoy one another, to connect with other people we don’t really know, and to attend to God.
This is a first for us. We’ve never been at this event or in this venue in Estes Park. We were telling the Sung family on the way to lunch–when they asked why we chose to come to the Feast together–that we don’t get to do this together, ever. I serve in one church. My wife and son attend and serve at another. Even though New Community Bronzeville was launched from Logan Square, the miles that separate us on Sundays, mean that I don’t regularly worship with or sing or greet with my wife or my son. So we came to the Feast to do that.
The Feast is a series of days developed and set aside by the Evangelical Covenant Church in order for people and families to create space for God, for each other, and for play. It leads to the denomination’s main governing time, our Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting is when and where the business of the Church is prayerfully heard and decided upon. It is where the superintendents offer reports, where the staff communicate things done and undone, and where the delegates vote upon critical issues facing our Body. It is also where our national Church commissions, licenses, and ordains clergy and missionaries for our vocations in ministry. The Feast, done only every three years, anticipates that business, doing so by reminding those who participate that the central issues before us as a Church are our God and our God’s mission as accepted and responded to in community.
We’re in the middle of breathtaking scenes, surrounded by peaks and trees fashioned by the Creator. And we’re surrounded by people who are eating like we are. In the days before my own service of ordination (I’ve written several posts about the process), I get to sit and hear great speakers remind me to savor.
This morning Lauren Walter spoke about savoring. Lauren told stories about loving salami and cheese sandwiches and remembering how she tried to sell water with her friend when she was a five-year old girl. She showed us what it was to savor. She talked about how when we remember what we love, we remember people and feelings and not schedules and projects. She said that when we savor, we feast with God. When we savor, when we enjoy the moment we’re in, we enjoy God in ways that we don’t get to when we pass the moment and go on to the next.
I’m off to do more savoring. Sure, I’ll be running through details of next weekend, and I’ll be squeezing moments to prepare to preach in Bronzeville this week. I might even try to get the raw podcasts from Logan Square since I missed Blake’s message today. I’ve already begun jotting notes for my short message at Misuzu and Alvin’s wedding this Saturday. I’m naturally inclined to think about what’s next, what’s ahead, even when that normal way of being is a problem. There are things to do. But savoring is the first one. I’m being reminded of that, and I’m obeying the nudges inside those reminders.