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Look Away from the Brights -- it's human nature to move toward that which we are looking at or concentrating on

A few weeks ago, when we had a small, combined worship service due to major snowfall, Rev. Kelly preached a homily about how the church community can be a bit like driver’s ed: at its best, a faith community acts as a experienced teacher, giving us, disciples or learners, real-time guidance in navigating life in a relatively safe setting.

And that’s this: if you’re driving at night, and someone is coming the opposite direction with their brights or high beams on, you must resist the temptation to stare at those lights.

To build on Kelly’s analogy, I’m want to repeat something I shared a few years ago, a lesson we learn in driver’s ed that is applicable to churches today.  


As every driver knows, someone coming toward you with their brights on is annoying and distracting. It’s terribly rude of them.

Worse, if we allow ourselves to be distracted, it can be dangerous. That’s because it is human nature to move toward that which we are looking at or concentrating on. If you stare at the brights, you’ll be drawn into them, perhaps resulting in a collision.

That’s why they train you, in driver’s ed, to look away from the brights and concentrate instead on your own road ahead. There are so many annoyances and distractions in our life. Whether it is
  • political polarization resulting from a breakdown in civic norms, 
  • religious and cultural superficiality, 
  • noise and information overload, 
  • or just our own chronic busy-ness, 
there are so many things coming at us -- so many things we can get pulled into.

How do we look away to the road we're on?

Well, at The Falls Church Episcopal, thanks to the prayerful and hard work of the vestry, we completed, in 2017,  a new 3-5 year vision. We spent significant time asking what God’s will might be for this particular faith community at this particular time. In 2018, we invested heavily in new staff by way of pursuing the strategic priorities which flow from that vision. Our Annual Report gives people a good sense of not only how those investments are beginning to pay off, but of the continuing good work we have been doing the past several years.

The bad news about bright distracting lights is that they are always there.

The good news is, we have agency -- choice -- in how to react to them.

We don’t want to ignore those lights, but neither do we want to concentrate on, or be drawn into, them.

The good news is, as our Annual Report shows, we’re pedal-to-the-metal on our own road. We have exciting directions to go.

The Falls Church Episcopal congregation is simultaneously one of the oldest, and one of the newest faith communities in the Diocese and nation. What an honor to be part of this new story. How exciting it is to invite others to join in.

Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.



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