Our Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
~ Wendell Berry~
Wendell Berry’s poem, “Our Real Work” resonates with the moment in which we live. For at least a year, we have seen an ongoing transition from covid separation/isolation to engaging in life in ways more like before the pandemic. We keep noticing, however, that the pandemic’s impact will remain with us for years to come. As we acknowledged on Sunday, life has and continues to change not only because of the pandemic. Polarizing politics and threats to democracy, white supremacy and racism, changes in the climate and increasingly frequent and severe ecological crises, and the numerous personal challenges we face—all these factors currently impact us and sometimes we are unsure of what should be our next steps.
Berry’s poem offers encouragement in such a time. Rather than a cause for fret, Berry suggests that uncertainty can become the threshold for a new journey. A new journey for which our confession of not knowing all the answers could be our greatest resource. A journey for which humility is also essential. In confession and humility, we make room for God.
As we celebrate the ministries of First Christian and invite commitments to sustain our ministry in 2023, Berry’s words invite us to turn to wonder and imagination. What will it look like to grow in our call to Seek God, Love Like Jesus, and Serve the World? What will be required of us to become the beloved community? May our minds be baffled and open to insights not our own. May we sing and dance the song of the impeded stream.