The two brothers from The Holy Transfiguration Monastery just left us. Its been a great three days. This morning we had our final breakfast and chat with them and we all shared what we learned. As for me, I was impressed with their perspective on time, their patience to wait for God’s timing, their reluctance to hurry or conform to the world’s rushed schedule that caters to the idolatry of NOW and the cult of youth.
One example: They talked with Brother Roger from Taize about opening up to new people and he suggested they wait twenty years. Which they did. It gave them time to develop a deeper spirituality and core rhythms.
A lot of new church plants wait until they can run a good worship service before they open up to the public. There is little talk about whether the community has the spiritual depth to receive and disciple newcomers.
It reminded me of some other voices in my life:
One is Bobby Clinton who taught Leadership Theory and Change Dynamics at Fuller Seminary. He said that if you want to figure out how long it will take to bring change in your community, you take your estimate and then double it. And double it again. And that’s how long it takes.
Another is my German friend Hans Peter Pache who asks how to build a cathedral. The answer is that you plant an oak grove and in a hundred years you have enough wood to build your cathedral. The rest is simple.
And Jesus. The disciples insisted that they rush up to Jerusalem to get there in time for the Feast. Jesus said the time for them was always right, always ripe, always NOW, but for him, his time had not yet come.
Stuff takes time. A lot of time. A tree needs to bear fruit in season but a season might be different, and might be longer, than we expect.