teach us to mark our days . . .


This past Sunday, our church finished a month long celebration of our 125th anniversary. One Sunday we returned to the little wooden church out in the woods where our congregation began; two Sundays ago, we spent the afternoon listening to Jeremy, our amazing accompanist, transport us with his words and music. And it was on that same Sunday as we sat in worship and Ginger “went off book” following the Spirit with prophetic words of challenge for us that I began thinking about how we could best measure our time, both past and future, as a congregation.

You’re probably way ahead of me. Before I had even begun to write down what was passing through my head, it already had a soundtrack: “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes . . .” and I wrote, “How do you measure the life of a church?” Then I listed:

  • in bricks
  • in coffee hours
  • in committee meetings
  • in spagetti dinners
  • in mission trips
  • in sermons
  • in hymns
  • in Christmas pageants
  • in workdays
  • in pastors
  • in conflicts
  • in capital campaigns
  • in budgets
  • in baptisms
  • in Communions

We say a great deal about who we are by how we mark our time. And by how we spend it. Life in the Brasher-Cunningham house is hectic right now and I never quite get to the bottom of the list. (So different from other times in my life!) The other night, Ginger asked if I had done something that had she had asked about before and I answered, “I haven’t had time.” She responded with a correction we offer each other as a gentle reminder of reality: “You haven’t made time.” And I corrected myself.

We both work to be diligent about remembering that “I don’t have time” is, for the most part, a euphemism for “that is not important to me” — or at least not as important. How I mark my time and spend my time shows me what matters. Coming to terms with what really matters based on the way I spend my time is not always a pleasant realization. The same is true for congregations. When we look at how we actually mark our days and spend our time, what matters most?

How do we measure a year in our lives together?

You know, when it gets right down to it, the folks from RENT answer well: how about love — seasons of love. So may it be.



  1. Framed on my bedside table is this quote from Annie Dillard: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Thanks for the reminder.

  2. WOW!! I have had that song haunting me for the past several months. Reminding me that my time on Earth is finite and can be counted in minutes. I have been really struggling with “Not having the time” to do the things I need to do to improve my situation. Life is full of distractions. Thank you for the reminder to reflect (not all of those minutes have been wasted) and re-focus.

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