This past week I completed my final session teaching leadership to recently ordained clergy with my fellow faculty members through CREDO, a benefit of the Church Pension Fund begun in 1997. CREDO was developed to promote wellness in clergy after research showed that overall ordained people dedicated their lives to helping others, often to their own detriment, and ultimately the church’s as well. It has been an amazing five years for me, a dream become reality that now it is time to let go. While I know this is the right thing, for a variety of reasons, it is also something of a struggle.
There are many reasons I’ve loved this experience, from being in some of our wonderful camp and conference centers around the county to lifting up and affirming those who are committed to leading—faithfully and with passion—the Episcopal Church we love into new waters. I’ve been honored to support participants as they engage with the Holy Spirit as active partners in their own transformation. I never tire of watching with wonder as a new awareness or sense of possibility floods their faces and brightens their eyes.
One of the things I’ve loved about CREDO is the extraordinary collaboration of being part of our faculty team—eight of us in total, lay and ordained people, each with particular gifts and skillsets. You grow close over the years, sharing in each other’s stories, and within each week you come together to create something unique for the participants. We play together and support one another, building on each other’s offerings and moving into the depths of loving relationship. The strength of our communion spills over, drawing the participants in as well. I remember my strong desire to be part of CREDO came from watching our faculty in this beautiful interaction. There is profound mutual joy in sharing this creative act, this offering of love, even if only for one holy week.
During the week, a colleague shared a remarkable 5-minute video of Andres Amador’s “earthscapes” entitled: art that goes out with the tide. Amador works primarily on beaches, creating incredible art that, as the title suggests, disappears with the rising tide. He speaks of creating what is pleasing to the eye, focusing on our joy and allowing that to become our bliss. It is remarkable, truly, the energy, passion and creativity he pours into these beautiful works, knowing full well that they will not last. Amador describes it this way,
People are enthralled that I would do something that is destined to fall away. That really strikes a chord with people, because really, truly it is the story of our lives. Our lives are impermanent. And the tide is unstoppable…Once I’ve created a piece, I feel like it’s moved through me and I can let it go. As the tide erases his work, I don’t feel an attachment to them, Amador says. I feel complete.
I resonated deeply with his insights, as I delighted in spending considerable time and energy working collaboratively to create these beautiful focal points for a liturgy, only to dismantle them afterwards. My work with CREDO has been incredible, and this past week in particular was the best of the best, truly stunning. And then we all walk away, moving back into our lives with the tide. I know that what we created and experienced moves with us in profound and life-giving ways.
Isn’t it true of all of us? We start over each day, pouring our hearts into whatever it is that we are doing—hopefully following our joy, our bliss—knowing that the tide is unstoppable, that wonderful things do come to an end, that while we are forever changed by our life, we cannot hold it captive. While flowing with the tides isn’t aways easy, as I can attest, I do believe that this is what it means to be living a resurrection life.
Hope to see you Sunday!