Cutting Corners - Devotions for the Wisconsin Annual Conference
Those whose way is blameless – who walk in the Lord’s Instruction – are truly happy! Those who guard God’s laws are truly happy! They seek God with all their hearts. (Psalm 119:1-2).
Earlier in ministry, my family lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. It was a terrific place to live. We lived one block from the elementary school that several of my children attended. The church I served was right next to the school. Most mornings, I would walk kids to school on my way to church. We had fun. We often played tag for the block we walked together.
We would walk down to the end of the block on the sidewalk. We would wait for the crossing guard to let us cross to the other side of the street. Then we would wait for the crossing guard to let us cross the street to the school. That is how the crosswalks went.
But on occasion, when kids weren’t with me, I didn’t feel so compelled to follow the rules and stay in the crosswalk. When I was all by myself, I got in the habit of cutting kitty corner across the street, just ignoring the crosswalks.
One day I was walking the kids to school. I was lost in my thoughts that morning. When we got to the end of the block, without really thinking I started to cut kitty corner across the street, ignoring the crosswalk AND the crossing guard. My daughter, Natalie (who just happened to be a crossing guard), was mortified. She said, "Dad! You can’t cross that way. That is against the rules. You could be hit by a car!"
She had me. I was cutting corners. I was trying to get by. I had allowed a bad habit to become a part of my life. And as much as I wanted to protest and say, "Natalie, look around. There are no cars coming.” The reality is she had me. I was in the wrong. I just said, “Natalie, you are right. I am sorry." And I got back into the crosswalk.
It seems like such a little thing, cutting corners at the end of the block, when no one is watching. But I have come to realize that if we are not careful, cutting corners can become a way of life for us. If we are not careful, cutting corners on little things can lead to cutting corners on big things. And before we know it we are facing some real difficulties of our own making.
In this crazy world, may we learn to heed the recommendation of the Psalmist, to “seek God with all of our heart.”
Prayer: Holy God, Be with us. Come reside with us. Bring us together as a Church, so we can truly be and become your body in this world. At a time when so many are hurting, help us to be your hands and feet. Be with the members of our Annual Conference. We are gathering soon, virtually. Let your Spirit breathe through us to touch each other and this world. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.