#amwriting, Discernment, Writing

O, Great Belayer

Miss M and Mr. Dimples, belayed by Mr. and Mrs. S.
Miss M and Mr. Dimples, belayed by Mr. and Mrs. S.

Today’s UCC Stillspeaking Daily Devotion was something I wrote, about going with Mr. Dimples to the Climbnasium, and the way our friend, Mrs. S, held the rope for him.*

I’m not a climber, but I understand the concept. You plot a route up the wall, and you count on the person holding the rope, the belayer, to offer suggestions and to keep you from falling even if you lose hold.

Last year, I made an enormous move, leaving Portland after 25 years and parish ministry after more than a decade. A wonderful change personally brought with it some significant upheaval vocationally. More than once I’ve declared myself a writer on this very page, but I continue to struggle with finding the places to put my hands and feet, to climb the wall of faithful service to the One who gave me the gift of writing, among others. I don’t feel called to parish ministry now, but I miss living the rhythm of a preaching life; I often wonder if I’m doing anything that actually matters when I spend my time writing. There is no ramp-up to worship or a sermon, measurable in their impact on a community of faith. I continue to decide and undecide what sort of larger project I might undertake. I keep reaching for a hold and not finding the right one. Not yet.

The truth is I most love writing about and in conversation with scripture. There are numerous small endeavors, being an occasional sub for Daily Devotionals among them, along with writing the Prayers for Pastors I publish on this blog. I’ll be writing some curriculum (for a paycheck, amazing!), and today I’m starting a project writing liturgy to go with the Narrative Lectionary’s Year 1 (with the hope preachers might wish to purchase it).

But there’s something, I think – I hope – something else.

Until the route becomes clear, O Great Belayer, please hold tight to the rope. And feel free to make a suggestion about where to put my hands next.

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*You may read it here, and if you came here because you read it there, welcome!

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2 thoughts on “O, Great Belayer”

  1. I, too, have left parish ministry after numerous years and feel a call to reach out in writing. I lean toward poetry, but also like to write liturgical pieces. I definitely hear what you’re saying when you say, “I don’t feel called to parish ministry now, but I miss living the rhythm of a preaching life; I often wonder if I’m doing anything that actually matters when I spend my time writing.” I feel that way, too. I, too, like to write in conversation with scripture. I have just learned this Spring of the existence of the Narrative Lectionary. I am glad that you will be writing liturgy to go along with that. I, for one, would be interested in purchasing that resource when it becomes available. Blessings to you, deep peace, and rivers of joy, as you live into God’s new call on your life, even in the midst of discerning and waiting for clarity to emerge. I have truly been blessed by your writing even though I just discovered it today.

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  2. I think I love this image for Sunday’s Ascension text in which I was thinking about how we wish to believe that Christ is the sure foundation… when maybe Christ is, as you suggest, the Great Belayer (still sure, but a lot more open and a lot less certain). I can imagine those first disciples suddenly made Apostles hanging there looking up and thinking – WHAT IN ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?!?!

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