I have a favorite quote from French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin over my desk. It reads as follows (with some language modification): “Above all, trust in the slow work of the Spirit. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stage of instability and that it may take a very long time. Give yourself the benefit of believing that the Spirit is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”
As we here in Rhode Island (along with the MA & CT UCC Conferences) move toward a June vote by our three southern New England UCC Conferences we are indeed facing into things unknown and things new. The challenge of considering something “new” for the future of our three Conferences is not easy and yes, some are impatient and just want to get on with it.
Some might say - RI has been in an interim time for nearly four years now – can’t we decide already and move on? While others wonder - what’s the hurry? Some may ask - why is it necessary to change? Others may say - we’ve always done it this way, why change now?
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin reminds us that we need to “trust in the slow work of the Spirit.” Of course some are impatient with the pace while others are discontent with the lack of clarity. I am reminded quite regularly that God’s time and our time are seldom the same. Let us trust in that Spirit. Let us believe that the Spirit is leading us forward. Let us accept the anxiety of not knowing. Let us hold this RI Conference in prayer along with the Conferences of MA and CT. Let us trust that God does indeed call us into a new future – a future with a new vision and some new ways!
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