The Pastor’s Pen
“Jesus told them many things in parables, saying: ‘a farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up…Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.’” Matthew 13
Feed what you want to grow. Figuring out what we want to pack up and move from our beloved home and community in York, Maine to somewhere out west feels more than daunting. I stand in the living room of the historic colonial parsonage we’ve called home this past six years, thinking. Like most pastors, we’ve moved a number of times as new communities have welcomed us home, and in due season sent us forward. This time feels different. Like the pioneers of two hundred years ago, we have to fit the contents of a six-bedroom home into the modern equivalent of a covered wagon.
I’m married to a practical man, and a person of faith. “Sell everything,” he says. “It will be cheaper to just buy what we need on the other end.” He may be right of course, yet possessions are funny. A chair is just a chair to some. For me, a chair tells the story of every person who has sat there, laughing and enjoying meals with friends year in and year out for more than thirty years. A cup is just a cup, until I turn it over and see in my mother’s handwriting that it belonged to my Great Grandma Lou who was given it as a wedding present in 1850.
Before you reach for the phone to tell me to ditch the chair and save the cup, I have to tell you that there are a thousand such items, telling stories as rich as any library. And yet I’ve been in this work long enough to know that in the not too distant future it will matter little to those who follow. And everyone’s coffin or urn is the same size. This thought is sobering, yet also freeing somehow.
When we reflect on the seeds God plants in our lives, both the ones we’ve chosen to water and the gardens that have grown, it’s helpful to visualize the end game. I don’t want to be remembered for having kept a beautifully appointed home, nor do I want to spend the last chapters of my life dusting and taking care of chairs where large groups of people will no longer sit.
We don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know this. I want to feed relationships, and faith, and compassion, and generosity, and gratitude, and laughter and joy. I want to be free and unencumbered enough of possessions to feed what God wants me to grow. Standing in the living room overwhelmed by the task at hand early this morning, I finally heard God speak through my husband.
“Come with me into the future. The only thing I need to take with me is you.”
God’s grace, mercy and peace,
Pastor Anna V. Copeland
Together, we can bring Christ's word and work to the world.