At worship a few Sundays back, it struck me that Faith Lutheran Church isn’t a pro forma place. Although we work within the boundaries of Scripture, sound doctrine and Christ-centered behaviors, we try not to get caught in ruts that can mire us in stifling ordinariness.
We don’t go through the motions just to get by. To stay grounded and balanced, we dig into the core of conventional, customary and time-honored approaches to congregational life so that we can find what seems to be 1radical, lively, fresh and useful. To hold steady, we don’t think of creativity or novelty as our highest goals. To escape frenetic “best practices,” we don’t chase ecclesiastical fads.
I think this idea might work for older adults, too. In these later years, I value the routines that mark my days—a somewhat predictable sequence of opportunities, responsibilities, events and relationships. They serve as a reliable core for another side of my life: Beyond-the-usual experiences and insights that challenge me to reach deeper, wider or higher than the customary boundaries that might frame some older adult lifestyles. (The first line of the poem 2”Warning” by sainted English poet Jenny Joseph comes to mind: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple.”)
I hope my quiet yearning goes beyond ego-satisfaction. I want to put to use all of the gifts God has given me, including those that might seem unusual or unconventional. I’d like to extend to others all that’s good about being part of God’s creation. I trust that there might even be holiness in living life past pro forma. (Certainly hilarity….) I want to keep putting into practice all that I fiercely believe is true, righteous, beautiful and godly.
A radical thought: Maybe you and I share “no pro forma” outlooks….?
1I remember learning years ago how radical also means that something/someone is connected to the roots of what’s good or helpful.
2See the entire poem at The Surprising Story Behind the Poem “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” – Later Bloomer.
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