Looking in the Mirror

Rev. James Gale, Executive Presbyter of Mid-South Presbytery

My office is a collection of books, papers, pictures, and other objects.  Everything in my office has a story, some much more interesting than others.  One object in particular that garners a lot of conversation is the little plastic clip-on mirror, which I have attached to my inbox. The mirror is a cheap rectangular plastic mirror, the kind one would purchase at a dollar store.   On the back of the mirror is a sticky note with the words, “Take time to reflect.” 

The mirror was given to me as a gag gift after a youth mission trip, where “take time to reflect” was an often-used phrase.  The joke here is that I am one of those folks who is often on the go, moving quickly from one thing to the next.  Sitting still, pausing, and reflecting is not my usual modus operandi.  So the mirror is that gentle reminder to me, neatly situated next to my inbox, full of all the things yet to be done.

For many of us in the church, the seasons of Lent and Eastertide are some of the  busiest times of the year.  We are planning special worship services, bible studies, and  programs and experiences to deepen the season’s meaning.  That is good and wonderful work.  But, I hope that amid that work we are taking time to pause and reflect.  We all need the reminder that taking time to pause and reflect is not a waste of time. Reflecting is not a code word for doing nothing. 

It is in those times of reflection that we become truly aware of our surroundings and open to the myriad of possibilities that we often miss.  These moments of the in-between can be a time of deep spiritual renewal, as well as a time of great energy and creativity.  In my work with churches, it is often when the churches pause- stop doing all the things and being busy- that they find a renewed sense of purpose and energy.  

So this Lenten season I wonder what you need in your life, in your work, in your spirit to make you stop and reflect.  What possibilities are you seeing or not seeing in the midst of all the things?   I hope and pray that this season the words on the back of a little dollar store mirror will be as life-giving to you as they have been for me.  This season, may you find time to pause and reflect.