The church I am now serving produces a monthly printed newsletter. Please don’t judge us for doing this – it serves a large part of our community who still prefer to hold and read the printed word on paper. So this means that I have to produce a pastor’s article for each one – I have written 8 of them now and evidently most of them are less than memorable. But not this last one – it actually struck a nerve with our congregation and in a good way. So I thought I would share the article on a broader scale. Here it is:
It is hard to believe that we are one month into the new year. Maybe you are like me and you ask, “where has the time gone?” The sensation of loss of time or the fleeting nature of the seconds and minutes of each day acts as a personal reminder. Daily I wrestle with questions that help me draw clarity toward my purpose here.
– The things that are on my to do list – do they contribute to the kingdom of God?
– The people who I encounter each day – do they experience God’s love and grace through me?
– The people who I love the most – are they receiving the best parts of me and the ministry I am called to?
I attend a class on Sunday mornings and we are reading through a book titled “Almost Christian” by Kenda Creasy Dean. In it she relays a story about Robert Fulghum, a Unitarian minister and author who attended a conference that had Alexander Papaderos (a peace advocate) as a guest speaker. Papaderos gave his speech and then asked if there were any questions. It was toward the end of the session, people were gathering their things and Fulghum asked Dr. Papaderos the philosophical question “what is the meaning of life?” His question received some laughter amongst those who were preparing to depart the session. Here is the rest of the story as Dean records it in her book.
“But Papaderos took the question seriously. He fished out a small round mirror from his wallet as the room shushed. He began to tell about a day when, as a small child in a poor, remote village during World War II, he found the pieces of a broken mirror from a German motorcycle. ‘I tried to find all the pieces and put them together,’ he said. ‘But it was not possible. So I kept only the largest one. This one.’ He held up the mirror. ‘I began to play with it as a boy and became fascinated by the fact that I could reflect light into dark places where the sun would never shine – in deep holes and crevices and dark closets. It became a game for me to get light into the most inaccessible places I could find. I kept the little mirror, and as I went about my growing up, I would take it out in idle moments and continue the challenge of the game. As I became a man, I grew to understand that this was not just a child’s game, but a metaphor for what I might do with my life. I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light – truth, understanding, knowledge – is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.’ Papaderos them looked at Fulghum and concluded, ‘I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world…This is what I am about. This is the meaning of my life.’”
Time is fleeting…the seconds tick by quickly and that means that every tick is precious. There is no time to be wasted on matters and things that brings darkness to your world. So maybe it is time for all of us to use our time (all of our time) reflecting the light of God’s love into our homes, our workplaces, and our community. I know it will be a valuable use of my time…I am confident it will be for you as well. Together let’s spend the rest of 2014 reflecting light into the dark places of our world.
Blessings for the journey.