A season of dormancy?
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24.
March can be a challenging month in any given year, because by that time, winter has gone on for so long! This time of church leadership transition feels a lot like the dormancy of the winter months: it seems as if nothing is happening; nothing is moving fast enough; there is far too little outward sign of progress (especially when it comes to naming an interim pastor/head of staff!). Impatience grows.
And yet, the thing about winter is that what outwardly appears dormant is, in fact, far from that. Our Creator has designed this season as a necessary one, for in order for the new to be born, the old must die. It’s an essential theme of the season of Lent, and also for our season of transition.
I’m drawn to the poetic blessings of author and clergywoman Jan Richardson, who likens the inward, hidden work God needs to do in us to the blessing of a seed falling to earth and dying. “It will require you to do some work…You must trust that this blessing knows where it is going, that it understands the ways of the dark, that it is wise to seasons and to times. Then — and I know this blessing has already asked much of you — it is to be hoped that you will rest and learn that something is at work when all seems still, seems dormant, seems dead. I promise you this blessing has not abandoned you. I promise you this blessing is on its way back to you. I promise you — when you are least expecting it, when you have given up your last hope — this blessing will rise green and whole and new.”
I have seen God’s faithfulness during this seemingly “dormant” time, as your elected church officers have been doing the hidden work of planning and budgeting to allow for fruitful ministry to take place. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in the Interim Search Committee’s hidden work of perseverance and tending hope. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in your staff in the hidden work of dreaming God’s future for this place. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness in the hidden stirrings in people’s lives that deepen their faith and strengthen this community.
May you experience the blessings of dormancy this Lent, knowing that dormancy is not the end of the story!
Lynette Sparks, Associate Pastor/Acting Head of Staff