My life is busy. Ridiculously busy. Probaby unhealthily busy. If you know anything about youth ministry, then you know while someone might be part-time on paper, they are full-time in real life. So, I am a full-time youth pastor. I am a full-time grad student finishing my masters in youth ministry (praise God for a May graduation!). I am a full-time dog mom. I am a full-time daugher and sister. I am a full-time friend. And lets just take a look for a second at what I am passionate about. Race, poverty, diversity, photography, art, music, and food to name a few. <—-These also need some form of my attention.
This past Sunday, after a full eight days of travel, I was slated to lead worship. Our scripture text was
38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
I’ve heard this passage dozens of times always in the context of dealing with ones neighbor. However, I thought a lot about the word love. Love is a hallmark of the youth ministry in which I currently serve. When I dream of youth ministry, I dream of love, creativity, imagination, safety; a place where all of these adjectives can be used to describe actions that can ultimately be lived out in community. I believe less in facets only designed for one demographic and more in a holistic approach to ministry that values the individual as a person in the community with the hallmark of that approach being love. It is through a teenager’s engagement with love that they infect others around them with love.
How often does my busyness get in the way of my ability to love someone well. Am I just “too busy” to listen? We all have the same 24 hours in our day. Are we using them well? For the anthem on Sunday I sang the song “Lord Have Mercy” by Michael W. Smith which can be found here. They lyrics were poignant when I thought about the words Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy) and Christe Eleison (Christ have mercy). It talks of forgetting the words of Jesus, missing his promises, and a longing to return back to the life that Christ has called us to.
Kyrie Eleison is derived from several New Testament passages. Check out Matthew 15:22, Mark 10:46, Matthew 20:30-31, or Luke 18:39 to name a few. The use of this cry to God deemed it appropriate to include in liturgical prayers within the church the years folllowing. It’s a prayer of petition and a prayer of thanksgiving. It acknowledges what God has done, is doing, and will do. 3 words.
So, for lent this year, I am working to unbusy myself. I am going to prioritize my twenty four hours in a way that allows for Kyrie Eleison and Christe Eleison. Will you join me?