Every once in a while, when I am waiting on a line or have a break that’s long enough to allow for focus but too short to really accomplish anything, I go to the Games section of the New York Times and play Spelling Bee. The object of Spelling Bee is to take seven assigned letters and make as many words of four letters or more as possible. Six of the letters are arranged, honey-comb style around a center letter, which has to be used in every word. See image included below.
At first, the game is easy. Nine achievement categories start with “beginner” and move up to “genius.” Most players can tear through the obvious possibilities, racking up early points and advancing in the process. But there comes a time in every game where progress slows, and then stops entirely. It’s very difficult to attain “genius” status! One can stare and stare at the letters on the page, and even though it’s clear that new words can be found, the mind can’t see its way to constructing them.
This frustration leads to the aspect of the puzzle that is also most satisfying. Because sometimes, suddenly, an answer becomes obvious. The surprise of seeing what couldn’t be seen, even moments before discovery, is a mini joy every time. And each puzzle contains a panagram: one word that uses all of the letters in the comb. Players gets extra points if they find the answer that is all-inclusive.
As we continue to live through a time of change, and as change in our congregational life now includes conversation about how to return to worshipping together, we hope and pray for guidance. Some of our next steps are obvious. Some are more difficult to discern. And some challenges seem insurmountable. But we trust that God always offers ways forward, even when we have difficulty seeing them in the moment. Sometimes, all it takes is a different view, or a new voice, and an opening reveals itself.
And, of course, discerning our next steps together is always more satisfying if all voices are incorporated in the process. To that end, I thank everyone who filled in our online survey about Sunday gathering. I also invite you to an online Adult Forum after worship on Sunday, May 23rd, where I will present the results of the survey, answer questions asked on the survey and in real time and offer some plans for moving forward in community. We may or may not enact all of our hopes and dreams for the future right away, but the Spirit continues to inspire creative possibilities in our common life.