July 5 2021 Questions for the Crossroads
Folks like me who work disasters and critical events know that as we begin to move out of the worst dangers a crossroads is created for many people. There, decisions are made about relationships, careers, jobs, education, retirement plans, moving house, family life, financial priorities, faith and more. They are important decisions about re-locating our lives in every one of those areas. As we move toward the future that is already on its way to us, how can we help our congregations and ourselves to manage the crossroads with grace? Three texts today talk about crossroads and how people choose the path forward.
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 A Bred in the Bone Promotion
“Look we are your bone and flesh,” all the tribes of Israel told David at Hebron. But that wasn’t their only appeal to him. They acknowledged that while Saul was king it was David who “led out Israel and brought it in.” Echoing what the Lord said, they made David their king and he covenanted with them. The crossroads is a time to recognize the leadership of people and sometimes how that leadership played out in unexpected ways. Is this the time to invest in people who have invested in you and proven themselves as leaders?
2 Corinthians 12:2-10 Wherever You Go, There You Are
It doesn’t matter how many names you can drop. Once you’ve dropped them, you’re still the same person. At the same time our own greatness can sometimes be an “also great” temptation. If we keep grabbing that to move ourselves forward, we may be missing the very thing that can get us where we want to be with ourselves and God. How well do you know your weaknesses? Do you accept and embrace them with compassion and faith so that God works with them? That’s the way Paul managed to be surprised not just by his greatness but also by his weakness. At the crossroads how can our weakness create a new path and a new partnership with God’s power?
Mark 6:1-13 Dusty Sandal Season
Sometimes the Achilles heel for clergy is not accepting that people don’t want what you bring to the table. The same thing can be said for others working from vocational purpose. It’s also true in personal relationships that need to be managed more carefully, reframed, or even ended. Accepting that that you and your offerings are not accepted where you hoped they would be can poke our competitive edge as much as our need to be affirmed. Have you ever “over-tried” in a job or a relationship? Are you often bringing something to the table for which there is no appetite or capacity to receive? Did you ever get through that crossroads or did it turn out to be traffic circle with no exit? My mother spoke about lost umbrellas and single gloves this way “Some things are meant to be left behind.” At the crossroads what, for you, is the dust meant to be left behind?
When you perceive a crossroads emerging from this time of critical events and stress, here are three questions to ask:
- Is this the time to invest in people who have invested in you and proven themselves as leaders?
- How can our weakness create a new path and a new partnership with God’s power?
- What, for you, is the dust meant to be left behind?
Diane Strickland is in her 33rd year as an ordained minister now serving in The United Church of Canada as retired clergy. She is a Certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue Specialist-Therapist, Critical Incident Responder, author and creator of Trauma Informed Resources.
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