If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, particularly the most recent seasons, you’ll recognize that command. It’s a warning to keep your eyes open and looking at the Weeping Angels- one of the scariest concepts the Doctor Who folks have created. They are statues, essentially, but they are also alive. They can’t move as long as someone is looking at them, but they can move in the dark or when you look away… or blink. Oh, and when they move, they are deadly.
So this week, I’ve been in Colorado at the biennial conference for the staff working in the collegiate ministry where I work. It’s a big deal, since this is the only time we have the majority of people in the organization in one place physically, since they are typically scattered on campuses and in regional or national offices across the country (some even overseas). It’s a mix of reunion, vision casting, worship, workshops… in fact, if feels a bit like the PCUSA Big Tent event. Only with a different demographic.
No- I haven’t seen any weeping angels or otherwise creepy statues here. But it strikes me as I’ve listened to some deeply moving and challenging speakers that we take significant risks when we blink in ministry and in organizational life. This might not make any sense outside my own oxygen-starved brain, but here goes.
God calls women and men to salvation and growth as disciples. Some of these growing disciples are called again to work in vocational or ordered ministry – missionaries, Christian educators, pastors, chaplains and the like. That call is the opening scene of a vision that God slowly reveals. Sometimes to the individual, sometimes to a community or team of people with whom that person is discerning or working. Often it takes work to get a clear picture – prayer, reading, listening, and even planning. Occasionally, it arrived fully formed. Either way, the living out of a God-given vision requires faith.
Faith is one of the big three Paul names- faith, hope and love. It’s not easy to define, but it has much to do with perseverance and trust. It has to do with waiting in the knowledge that the waiting is not in vain. It has to do with hanging onto stories of the steadfastness and trustworthiness of the God who was, and is, and ever shall be. Believing them when it makes sense not to, applying them in a world that chooses science and logic over mystery and belief. Faith is what allows us to open our eyes to the vision God has for the world.
When it would be so much easier to look away from the difficulty of loving in a world filled with hate.
When there are distractions and diversions that are so enticing
When compassion fatigue, reality checks and exhaustion kick in.
When the enemy who comes to kill, steal and destroy whispers lies about what we “really” are looking at and looking for. Look closer.
When people remind you just how crazy you are, don’t look away.
Don’t blink. Press on with open eyes that remain focused on the prize.