Are you a list-maker like me? Even though I often have several lists that I’m working off of (until they get lost and need to get re-made), my little lists help me keep track of my busywork. This Sunday on Pentecost, the Church celebrates a God that shows up continuously in surprising ways to lead us out of what might seem like life’s boring busywork.
Last Sunday’s scripture reading from the lectionary allowed us to see the followers of Jesus captured by the busywork of holding a church meeting to choose another apostle to replace poor Judas. Like us, the disciples (now-turned-apostles) were trying to keep busy while they waited for the Spirit that Jesus had assured them would come—since they likely felt completely ill-equipped to be apostles (teachers) of the Way that Jesus had taught them as his disciples.
Jesus had ascended to heaven and had told them to wait for the Spirit to guide them, but his close followers were in a place of “limbo” of sorts. This happens to us, too, after the departure of a loved one to college, or a new job out-of-state, or perhaps because a friendship has soured, we feel adrift, as well. The new apostles now had to discover how to be led by God without Jesus doing it for them; they needed to wait for the Spirit within them to lead. A new book by Marilyn McEntyre might have been just the thing to help.
The book is called Make a List: How a Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts. She says that while some list-making can be mundane busywork, sometimes it can be just the thing to help one wait for the Spirit to lead.
Here are a few ideas of list ideas from her book:
What takes me close to tears?
What choices do I make when I have a few hours alone?
What I wonder about my work
What’s drying up or dying out and why?
Here’s one of my favorites from her appendix:
What the Beach Teaches
- The next wave will come when this one goes.
- There’s a lot to be gained from building a castle that will crumble at the next high tide.
- If you dive into the wave, it won’t overwhelm you.
- One man’s sacred spot may be another man’s volleyball court.
- A lot will disappear by tomorrow.
- Or be replaced.
- Or rearranged.
- They endure.
- What yields and what endures are not opposites.
- Birds who compete when they feed cooperate when they fly.
If like me, you are in a place of waiting for the Spirit to lead your life into the next “Here I am, Lord,” offer your soul some good ways of waiting with heart soft and open, with arms relaxed and not clingy. Letting go of the familiar and intentionally stepping off the well-worn ruts gives space for the Spirit to catch our attention and woo us into the next adventure. Perhaps making a list could be one way to do just that.
Happy travels to you, as you patiently wait for your next Pentecost.