Why do you show up?
It can seem like a strange question right now, when “showing up” looks so different. When we do not “show up” in person to our groups we used to. When so many of us do not “show up” to our places of work or school in person now. When we do not “show up” to our church buildings.
But we are still showing up in love. We are still showing up to gardens and God’s beauty. We are still showing up to phone calls and cards with neighbors, to webinars and Zoom chats and virtual coffee hours and worship via internet and phone and paper. To acts of service. To supporting our neighborhoods. To prayer and reading scripture. To love.
But, when our normal rhythms are disrupted, all these things get more taxing. This is an exhausting time. The difficult work of showing up in love when we need to learn new ways of showing up takes a lot of energy. My Lenten discipline was to practice a form of centering prayer, adding more silence to my prayer routine. I’m glad I had that focus because now, I am more comfortable with my prayers when they turn into unintentional centering prayer, when I am praying in silence because I don’t have the words to say. I have practiced trusting that the Holy Spirit does speak to and for us when words just aren’t enough.
So why do you show up?
It’s a question of calling and purpose. As Lutherans, we talk a lot about our baptismal calling, the claim that God has upon our lives as the baptized. And this baptismal calling is shared between all of us. We all have the baptismal calling to love and serve God. But we also have individual callings. Callings to different types of work, to relationships and families. Our purpose and calling are both universal and individual.
I show up because I am a baptized child of God. This claim that God has on my life beckons me to serve and love my neighbors and to see the image of God in the people I interact with on the phone, on Facebook, on the street. But I also show up because of the difference God has made in my life. I show up because of the love God shows me. I show up because I love God, too. I show up because I feel compelled to share that love, to point out our human tendencies to distort God’s love and to proclaim God’s love as far as I can. I show up because I am overcome with awe at the beauty God made, at the forgiveness God offers. I show up because as much as I love words, I am speechless when I think about just how deep God’s love runs, when I think about the pain that we humans put God through regularly, and yet God still shows up in our midst.
That’s why I show up. I know it doesn’t always make sense. And sometimes, I don’t feel that as strongly. Sometimes I just feel numb and exhausted. But I show up because of what I know to be true from the past. Sometimes I show up because someone else supports me through that rough patch.
Think about your own life, your own faith journey. Why do you show up? And then, after you’ve thought about that, after you’ve reflected, share your story with someone else. Tell someone else why you show up, and ask them the same. As much as we are physically distancing for our neighbors’ sake at this time, we are not alone. We need each other’s stories. We need each other’s support. The Holy Spirit shows up and calls you. Why do you answer?