I mentioned in passing in an earlier blog that I am no longer serving the church in Smithfield where I have been for the past seven years. Suffice to say they wanted to go in a new direction under new leadership. It’s all cool. I can deal with that. Only a few weeks before this happened, I was at a board meeting in St. Louis, and the president of the entity told us about a seminar he had attended that dealt with unexpected change in the workplace. He told us the keynote speaker had shared a phrase that made him stop and think: What does this make possible? In the light of loss and seeming disjointedness – what becomes possible?
This phrase made me stop and think, too. It has become my new mantra. I have written it all over my house, posted it in several different places, to keep it at the forefront of my mind, to always go back to it in times of disorientation: What does this make possible? What doors can open now? What opportunities are now available? In even simpler terms, what’s the lemonade you can make from this lemon?
The past five Sundays, I have had the opportunity to visit other churches. I got to hear former classmates and current colleagues preach. And I got to do some substitute preaching myself. It’s always interesting to go to other churches and see what their order of worship is. Some do communion before the sermon, some do it after. Some have invitations to discipleship at the very end of the service, some in the middle. At several of the churches I visited, I ran into good friends, so there were lots of hugs and smiles and even a potluck supper on a well-timed visit.
What does this make possible – this incident that could have thrown me for a loop, but I didn’t let it? It makes it possible for God to do something new and exciting with me. I was getting in God’s way. I was getting complacent. It was time to leave. The Holy Spirit was telling me so, but I wasn’t listening. (Her hint was in the structure of my sermons. I thought I had written some sermons recently on profound ideas I hadn’t explored before – but when I looked back, I had already done sermons on those very points.) So the timing to go was right because the timing was God’s.
What does this make possible? Only anything and everything.