One of the Andover Newton at Yale Divinity School students in my Unitarian Universalist Ecclesiology, Ministry and Polity class last semester invited me to participate in her Mid-Degree Review along with other YDS professors and ordained clergy. As this distinguished group talked among ourselves about the challenges of ministry today, a recurring theme centered around church time and expectations management, until it dawned on me, we were often seeking to follow our own sense of time and priorities, rather than God’s time.
To walk with God requires that we humbly adjust our expectations to God’s will, in God’s sweet time. This felt like a humbling Lenten reflection, this time of the church year when we are annually stuck in this already/not yet pilgrimage of waiting for God’s time to finally arrive. For those of us who are over achievers, or simply seeking to exceed expectations, it can be difficult and frustrating when we are not able to set our own pace. But discerning God’s call for us is best done in God’s time at God’s pace.
So, I took a breath, remembering we cannot walk with God, except we walk at God’s pace. We cannot comprehend God’s purpose, yet we can trust and obey, and thereby go with God. I need only to focus on my faithfulness, rather than my accomplishments or lack thereof. This is the blessed assurance that carries us through the Lenten season all the way to Easter. Thank God!
Rev. Dr. Jim Sherblom, YDS Lecturer
Author of Spiritual Audacity: Six Disciplines of Human Flourishing