We are to hold fast to the things that endure, says our collect today.
A few years ago I went on an Outward Bound trip to North Carolina and the element that held the most interest for me was the rock climbing. I looked forward to the rock climbing with equal parts of excitement and dread. The day arrived for rock climbing, and somehow, I found myself upon the rock. Some cracks in the rock might be adequate for an expert climber, but for this beginner, I needed ledges and cracks that I could grasp and ones that could support me. And so, I found myself somehow moving my way up the rock, always on belay below from my trusted fellow pilgrims. I looked to the rock to find those places where I could hold fast but at times I did feel anxiety and fear – even though, I knew cognitively that if I fell, the rope would hold me. At moments my mind turned to anxiety about falling to the earth, about the unnatural place in which I had placed my body – 50 feet off the ground, 75 feet off the ground. I was not meant to be up here! And then I would feel my arms tighten, and I would feel my back tense up with fear of earthly things, fear and anxiety crept in when I forgot that I was always supported by a rope above, and my friends below. And I forgot that I was able to hold fast to this rock, this enduring rock that has crags and ledges seemingly made just for me.
And so it is for us, our minds and hearts turn to the earthly things that cause us anxiety, and of course this is totally understandable, we are concerned about our families, we are concerned about our jobs, about our environment, about the leadership of our communities, locally and nationally. We have concerns about our friends, colleagues and neighbors who are struggling, and we are concerned about our own selves, and whether we have the stamina to take on the challenges that life throw us. You see, anxiety is an understandable response – and we all have experienced it. . . more