Not Today

 

 Posted on February 15, 2018 by Kendra Joyner Miller

I stood a little awkwardly as people rushed by, many avoiding looking me in the eyes, heads down. Maybe, they too were avoiding the cold… or maybe they were just avoiding the young woman in a cassock and purple stole holding ashes. “Good Morning,” I would call out to commuters putting on my friendliest most welcoming face. Some looked up.

“Would you like to receive ashes to mark Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent?”  I love Ash Wednesday – I love it enough to wake up at 5:00 and wait outside by the train station in Chicagoland winter. I love the way that Ash Wednesday reminds us we are only human- limited and finite. So often we feel like we carry the world on our shoulders and Ash Wednesday reminds us we don’t have and really we can’t.

Some commuters thanked me coming forward to be reminded of their mortality and limitlessness-  others said simple no’s- some kept walking- then a few replied “not today.” “Not Today”?! I was confused at first then tried not to laugh. Ash Wednesday only happens annually after all.

I can imagine these friendly faces were not sure what response would feel warm while also allowing for a quick escape from the crazy clergy. I am sure many of these commuters do not know what “Ash Wednesday” even is. Their effort was valiant  and  comical.

“Not today,” there was something profound for me in this response- a lesson these commuters were giving me. So often in my life I life I have scripted days- encounters- conversations. I go about with my agenda- a color coordinated calendar that buzzes- vibrates- and pops up to remind me of what is going on. I often joke “if it is not on my calendar it doesn’t exist”. But too often, when met with God among the ordinariness of my day I hurry along, gaze down mumbling, “Not today” and so often I miss out on opportunities of awe and wonder- moments of profundity- and meaning- moments of brokenness- and healing- Holy moments. This Lenten season I pray that I can look up more- and reply – “today”- “yes.”

4 Comment(s)
  • Bob Stout Posted October 3, 2017 6:12 pm

    I can’t think you enough for reaching out to us as our pastor, offering the clarity of thoughtful reflection that has helped me for one, to sort through the chaos of this most horrible event. Your observation about the distance between the shooter and the target graphically and accurately assessed the nature of the shooting as being far less mpersonal than other mass shootings. His victims must have appeared as ants or perhaps even less than ants, just shooting targets.. I fear for the future and “copy-cat” efforts. And yes, we do need to come closer and recapture a sense of empathy and compassion, two qualities that have been eroded away by the force of the waves of social media, distant and impersonal/instant one-way communication with significant delay in response if not even no response at all. SAD!

  • Diane Adams Posted October 4, 2017 6:16 am

    Pastor Seth,

    Thank you so much for your words of comfort at this sad, frightening time. Your words, both spoken and written, have touched me many times in the past. I, too, am thankful for my church family, where we can be uplifted and comforted.

    Blessings.

  • Siobhan Wagner Posted October 4, 2017 11:59 am

    Pastor Seth ~

    This is such a sad time in all of our lives. There are people out there that hugged and kissed a loved one for the last time on Sunday evening, not knowing it was the last time. We should love everyone like it’s our last day here on earth. Unfortunately we don’t do that on a daily basis. We get too caught up in life until someone evil shows their “face” to the world and we again hug and kiss our loved ones. I have always wondered is there evil in the world or is it mental illness?

    How do we know if someone is truly evil or mentally ill. This is one of the things that scares me the most. Everyone automatically thinks, Oh, he was mentally ill, but was he? This is the one thing that I question in life, is evil among us. It truly scares me to think there is evil but we see it in the news everyday not just Sunday evening.

    Like you said, it’s like a window to hell opened and it is staying open……but why? Are we being tested by one side and pushed by the other?

  • Leland Livingston Posted January 27, 2018 8:49 am

    I like that view of the glass–thank you.

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WORSHIP TIMES
SENIOR MINISTER

"Words from Our Pastor"

Rev. Seth Ethan Carey

Not Today

   Posted on February 15, 2018 by Kendra Joyner Miller I stood a little awkwardly as people rushed by, many avoiding looking me in the eyes, heads down. Maybe, they too were avoiding the cold… or maybe they were just avoiding the young woman in a cassock and purple stole holding ashes. “Good Morning,” I

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