Preparing for Worship – August 23 – Ashley Robinson, pastoral resident.
I joked recently that trying to settle into a new home after a move feels like I overpacked for a prolonged vacation. Box by unpacked box, though, I am beginning to feel more grounded.
The Wilshire community has, from day one, shown radical hospitality in nearly every possible way. I have received groceries at my doorstep, cards in the mail, welcome e-mails, phone calls and texts. I have loved receiving tips about where to go when things are “back to normal,” whatever normal might mean for us.
Last Sunday evening, as I was beginning to settle into my third week as a Wilshire resident, I was caught off guard by a thunderstorm that blew through Resident Row. The wind blew my doors open and the trees appeared to be practicing yoga. I realized that I had not yet unpacked any of the supplies that I typically gather for my “go-bag” that I keep ready for anything. As soon as that realization struck, the power went out.
I nervously laughed while I pillaged through boxes trying to stumble onto a flashlight. When I found a flashlight, I turned it on to discover that I was inches away from gripping a set of knives in the dark box. I took that narrow miss as a cue to stop and sit down.
Not knowing how much battery I had left in the flashlight, I sat quietly in the dark watching the storm throw a tantrum outside. “Maybe it has something to say,” I thought. So, I watched and listened. Mostly, I could only hear my pulse as I gripped my flashlight. But, the longer I sat in the dark watching the chaos that swirled around me, the slower my breath became. I was finally able to hear an assurance, “you have everything you need.” I began to feel more at peace, at home.
I wondered this week if worship is a little bit like having a go-bag ready, but being content to let the wind carry you to wonder. We are all, in a sense, navigating new ground living through a global pandemic. I imagine that in this uncertain time, you might also feel unsettled, left wondering when you get to go home again. As you prepare for worship, I invite you to consider what grounds you in the midst of chaos? What calls you back home?