We all know how life has a way of layering us with the tyranny of the urgent often resulting in the neglect of what really should matter most.
We also know how tragedies have a way of bringing many things into sharper focus. Regular readers of my blog are aware of how death has touched our family and friends in recent weeks. Dealing with this has given me pause to unlayer a bit- that is- to try to see more clearly what really is important.
My thoughts first go to family. All kinds of layers can complicate family relationships creating hurt and even estrangement. What a pity. Life is too short for these kind of layers. Forgiveness can unlayer. Love can heal. I understand that some layers may never be completely removed, but harboring pain and nurturing grudges helps no one. Life is fleeting. Unlayer family complications as much as possible, bury pride, let go of the anger and cherish your family while you can.
Layers are also very evident when it comes to church also. So much seems to get in the way here sometimes. Church folks occasionally add layers of self-righteousness, of harsh condemnations, of unhealthy pretense, of fruitless arguments and of selfish preferences. Forgotten in all of this is the call by God to love and accept one another in Christ and to be the light of the world. Unfortunately these layers often end up in bitter dispute and devastating division. As a result our Christian witness suffers. It is past time to unlayer here. According to the Bible the church is the beautiful bride of Christ but these layers often diminish that beauty. Lifting up God’s amazing grace will begin the unlayering process. Demolishing pride will continue it. Loving each other as God loves us will complete it. Church is a place of refuge and of safety from the harsh layered world. Let us work to really make it so while we have the opportunity.
Finally I think of how we layer ourselves with our work. Career is such a high priority among us that we often spend a disproportionate amount of our time and energy becoming “successful”. Preachers are not immune from this. We often measure ourselves by church size and speaking engagements. (Never mind that some of the very best I know among us faithfully labor away from the limelight) But whatever our careers are we may need to unlayer them- to free ourselves from these demands in order to focus on the more important matters. We can literally “work ourselves to death” and miss the real joy and blessings of life.
Remember the call of Scripture to “be still and know that I am God”? It is about unlayering.
The time to do this is now.