Stretching & Chasing

St Peters by the Sea Organ Pipes
I’m writing this month to tell you that despite what appear to be setbacks and challenges, we are in a very exciting moment as a congregation. This is why. I recently re-listened to a podcast that revolved around the concepts of stretching and chasing.*  Stretching is taking what you have and resourcefully and creatively seeing the potential in it and getting to work as if it were enough.  Chasing has to do with comparing yourself to others and believing that you need more (time, money, schooling, etc.) in order to get started. The podcast highlighted the fact that in times when we are a little hard up, when we have less, when things are in flux, we are forced into a way of thinking that is scrappier and stretchier.  Times of scarcity or limitation can drive creativity. Dr. Scott Sonenshein, the scholar behind this research talked about how, to those of us adults who have the world at our finger tips, a frying pan is just a frying pan.  But to a small child, it is a drum, a bathtub for play figures, a hat, or a giant hammer.  The child is a natural at stretching the potential of what a frying pan can be. We’re in a stretchy time for sure! We have not regularly met for over a year.  Our congregation had a pastoral vacancy for almost two years.  We have endured the painstaking limitations of the pandemic.  Our worshipping space is small.  We recently lost our beloved musician to a sudden and unexpected death.  We have a lot of folk (including me) who commute in, which is a constraint in many ways.  Our preschool staff is worn out from a lot of turnover and reopening the school.  These are ripe conditions for creativity - for seeing things anew and seeing possibilities where we previously hadn’t.  This concept of stretching reminds me of the story of the feeding of the 5,000.  A few loaves of bread and a couple of fish are the makings for a feast that fed a multitude.  This way of being is in our DNA as people who follow Jesus.  We don’t need more.  We don’t need things to be different.  We only need to look within at what we’ve been given and to think with the creativity of children to see how what we already have can be more than we thought it could be.  Wherever you are in this pandemic recovery time, may you be blessed with a holy and beautiful stretchy mindset, with the mindset of our God who worked with what he had instead of chasing after what he didn’t have.  I’m excited to see what this stretchy time yields.  Peace, friends. Pastor Bekki   *Check out Brene Brown’s podcast called “Unlocking Us” on Spotify.  This particular episode was entitled “Brene Brown with Scott Sonenshein on Stretching and Chasing”