Daily Bread May 16

Hidden Patterns
Dustin Davis of Burbank, CA, USA

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” -Isaiah 52:7

Recently I was on retreat at Camp Buckhorn with the youth of the Pacific Southwest International Mission Center where we walked a labyrinth. We set the tone of our worship, shared a testimony of God’s enduring presence, and explained the logistics of walking a labyrinth. Flickering candles lit the large canvas labyrinth.

Almost immediately, however, I lost control of the environment I’d worked so hard to create with the rest of the camp staff. After a handful of youth had reached the center of the labyrinth, some of them just walked right back out. I don’t mean they followed the path as they had done to enter. They just walked right across the painted lines as if they weren’t there. Some other youth, now unsure of what to do, followed suit. “No,” I thought to myself, “you’re doing it wrong!”

Some of the candles were accidentally kicked around. Outbursts of laughter drowned out the quiet guitar in the background. Some youth quickly walked the circling path catching up to others walking more slowly: a labyrinth traffic jam! None of it was playing out how I thought it should have been. The experience, I was sure, was ruined.

Recognizing my frustration and mounting anxiety, I took a step back, closed my eyes, and breathed deeply. When I opened my eyes again, the scene before me was transformed. I was reminded of one of the greatest lessons the labyrinth has to teach. Even though it looked as if a few dozen teenagers were randomly walking around, I could see they were in fact following a path. I could suddenly see the hidden pattern underlying the chaos, and I had no choice but to trust it.

I have countless examples when worship, congregational life, and my own life haven’t gone exactly as I’ve envisioned. Sometimes it feels and looks like chaos. But the challenge of Ordinary Time-a time when we don’t have any specific focus in our spiritual lives-is to take the time we need to breathe deeply and look again. Then we can see again the hidden patterns that undergird our daily lives and learn to trust them even when we can’t see exactly where they’re going.

Prayer Phrase

I am about to do a new thing, now it springs forth… (Isaiah 43:19).

Spiritual Practice

A New Thing

Breathe deeply and listen within. Where is the Spirit doing a new thing in you? How do you feel about the new thing that might be emerging? Are you excited, resistant, fearful, hopeful? Take whatever you are experiencing to prayer. Breathe deeply and listen around you. Where is the Spirit doing a new thing in your community? Pay attention to how it feels to discern the Spirit’s activity and presence within and around you.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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