What if???

The following is from a blogpost by an Educational Consultant named AJ Juliani. It was shared with me by one of my sons-in-law who is an educator. As I read it, I wondered how we might adapt it for congregations. My suggestions for a few ways we might do that are at the end of the original, which is in italics.

What if??? 

“If they cancel the rest of the school year, students would miss 2.5 months of education. Many people are concerned about students falling behind because of this. Yes, they may fall behind when it comes to classroom education. . .

But what if. . .

What if instead of falling “behind,” this group of kids are ADVANCED because of this? Hear me out. . .

What if they have more empathy, they enjoy family connection, they can be more creative and entertain themselves, they love to read, they love to express themselves in writing.

What if they enjoy simple things, like their own backyard and sitting hear a window in the quiet.

What if they notice the birds and the dates the different flowers emerge, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?

What if this generation are the ones to learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, and keep a well-run home?

What if they learn to stretch a dollar and to live with less?

What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home?

What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday?

What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants, and the previously invisible essential support worked like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics, and health care workers and their supporting staff, just to name a few of the millions taking care of us right now while we are sheltered in place?

What if from among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?

What if they are ahead?”

If we cannot have in-person worship until 2021, think of all that we will have missed. Palm Sunday, Easter, Senior Sunday, Confirmation, end of Sunday School picnic, Memorial Day service in the cemetery, Rally Day, All Saint’s Day, and so many times to have communion and the passing of the peace and coffee hour together in our beloved church building.

But, what if we learn that there are people who will join virtual worship and thereby experience the love of God every week who would never have joined us in the sanctuary?

What if the members of our congregations learn not to rely on the “professionals” for the contours of their spiritual lives, but find ways to create new practices and habits that bring them into the presence of God in new ways?

What if pastors and chaplains and professors and directors of not for profit organizations get to eat more meals with their families or calmly by themselves at their own tables and discover again the need for quiet and peace; what if they discover that having an over-loaded calendar and “no time to eat” is not a spiritual virtue but, instead, a detriment to their ability to lead and to be led?

What if our churches and ministers, wherever they find themselves, are at the forefront of a new Reformation, aided by the tool of the internet, but led by the Holy Spirit to reach people who are lonely and frightened in a way we have never done before?

What if among this generation of Christians a new Miriam or Deborah, a new Lois or Eunice, a new Martin Luther or John Calvin, a new Ida B. Wells or Martin Luther King, Jr. arises, freed from the constraints doing church “the way we have always done it” to lead us into an enlivened and life-giving new expression of our old faith in the hope that we know in Jesus Christ?
The Rev. Susan (Sue) Krummel
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Chicago