Thursday, May 7, 2009


It was one of those "little bit of everything" days today -- a day that we "generalist" pastors love, generally. It was filled with
  • a conversation with a parish member about our Adult Forum with the Superintendent of Schools and about education in our community in general
  • a meeting of local clergy for prayer, support and visioning about what our role in our community just might be
  • re-typing the worship notes for those who could not read my original handwriting....
  • a physical I rescheduled from Monday. (I left angrily after waiting an hour and a half). Today everything went well, except that I had to get two shots.
  • a hospital visit to an elderly woman.
  • a community organizing meeting where new dreams are just beginning to be born, and I am imagining what my role in it all might be.

In the midst of it all, I'm thinking about that strange command from John's Gospel, "abide." What does it mean to abide? It's such a simple thing to ask, but actually it is such a lot to ask of us, simply to abide, to stay, to hang in there, to not give up, to bear with one another, to keep going and going, to keep trusting God's vision and trusting God's love.

Abide. All we ask is that you stay: it's as simple as that. But not so simple, really. After all, about half of married couples don't end up "abiding" with one another.

To abide is to be faithful, to our call, to one another, to God. It's not to give up, on the simple, mundane things, on the difficult things we will never be good at (like human relationships, for example).

I had simple goals this evening: eat dinner, do the dishes, take out recycling, walk the dog. I saw the moon rise as I walked down the street, the last task of the evening. I saw in a picture window a mother holding her baby, and I waved to them.

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
The darkness deepens, Lord with me abide


Jennifer said...

I started humming with the first "abide.'
Great thoughts with which I identify, Diane.

FranIAm said...

What a lovely post and one that put my heart at peace... abiding.

Tracy said...

It occurs to me that "abide" may be one of my favorite words. Such steadfast faith, peace and strength and yes, happiness, I think, in that word. Hanging in there with hope and faith; knowing whatever challenge is before you can be achieved, or at least endured; and that a smile on the other side of it is always and forever not only possible, but likely. I'd use this word to describe my beloved Grandma. Thank you for your beautiful post.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I really like your definition of abide. If abiders were hikers, they would be staying together in the valleys, as well as on the hills, across the desert as well as in the forest and also in the rain forest.

I've read that a fairly large number of people who got divorced reflect, 5 years later, that they wished that they had worked a bit harder and "abided" together and stuck it out.

Barbara B. said...

Wonderful thoughts on 'abiding'!

BTW I always feel terrible when I run behind schedule at the clinic. :(

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Sometimes this is all we need ask for.

angela said...

I really love your definition of 'abide.' I'm writing a sermon from the lectionary this week also and immediately thought of the last verse of the hymn--"Where is death's sting, Where grave thy victory? I triumph still if Thou abide in me..." Partly b/c the emphasis is on God's abiding in us when we lose the strength...and have to be lifted.

Rev SS said...

lovely reflection ... thanks Diane