With the change of each and every season comes a shift in our attention. In the fall, we are focused on the beginning of school, the first kickoff of football, or our busy season at work. The winter brings more time inside and less yard work. In the spring, we are racing towards the end of school. During the summer, we feel a little freer, even though we are still busy.
Throughout these changes, which are beneficial to our lives, we are grateful for the rhythms of the church, which give us a center of gravity. We are grounded in the ways of Jesus through the routines of our faith no matter what else is happening around us. They give us a center around which we can move back-and-forth between the changes.
There are also many types of seasons throughout the year unrelated to the weather. We might face upsetting news, whether it is heartache in our family or the outbreak of violence in the world, bringing with it a heavy season of sadness. Anxiety from the news or concerns about our children can upset our days, bringing a season of uncertainty. We yearn for a center of gravity, so that we can endure the ups and downs around us.
Our faith can help us see the seasons of life differently. We can develop a double vision, seeing things “from here” and “from there,” as Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, writes. We can see the current season from various perspectives. “From here,” we might see our concerns from a narrow view, consumed by our immediate fears; but as we look “from there,” grounded in our faith, we might also see more than our fears. We might see how we are never alone.
With this double vision, we see not only the comfort of the loving presence of God “from there,” but we also see the experience of others, which broadens and informs our perspective. We are able to gain a clearer understanding, anchored in the rhythms of our faith, informing our fears, guiding our words, and fostering discerning actions.
We are thankful for our center of gravity, anchored in our faith and shaped by the church’s rhythms. As the seasons change around us, shifting the ground beneath our feet, we are able to broaden our vision to include more than fear. We are able to see the endurance of faith and the relentless mercy of God.