At this point I have a full week of Macon under my belt. The first thing I want to say is "Thank you!" In my short time here, I have already felt a warm welcome. Your handshakes, hugs, smiles, and kind words have helped Macon start to feel like home. The Spirit of God is evident in your gift of hospitality.
The number one question I have been asked is “Are you settled in?” This is a tricky question. If you are wondering whether If you are wondering whether I am unpacked, then theanswer is yes! Boxes have been emptied and pictures mounted (and hopefully by the time you read this I will have found my way to a grocery store). I am physically quite settled. If, however, you want to know if I am mentally and emotionally settled, then the answer is “Not yet.” I do not give a hard-and-fast “No.” Rather, I have not fallen into the rhythms of FBCX yet. This has nothing to do with lack of welcome on your part or hard-headedness from me. Rhythms of life merely take time to sync. At this point I am still observing the patterns of daily life in the office, as well as weekly gatherings of the congregation. These new rhythms are an exciting adjustment!
Above my desk is a painting from a former youth that reads “Lord, teach me the unforced rhythms of your grace.” It is a prayer inspired by Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Matthew 11:29-30, “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” I believe that a change in rhythm is a good thing. Growth comes with change. I have no doubt that I will grow as I begin to embody the rhythms of FBCX. Perhaps this change will even create some new rhythms as we grow together. These changes also remind me, however, of the constant rhythm—that of the grace of Christ. As we were reminded this past World Communion Sunday, we are all one in God, who binds us together. While we are always seeking to be better in-step with these rhythms, they are constant—pulling us toward justice, kindness, and mercy. As I adjust to new rhythms in Macon, my prayer is that they grow ever closer to the unforced rhythms of God’s grace.
I find my prayers are usually best expressed through song. My prayer during this adjustment takes the form of a favorite hymn (which I have taken the liberty of adapting): “We are one in the bond of love. We are one in the bond of love! We have joined our [rhythms] with the [rhythm] of God. We are one in the bond of love.”
I look forward to this bond growing stronger as I continue to settle. I appreciate your grace through this transition, and welcome opportunities to get to know you better.