Update in progress

Pastoral Messages | March 13, 2024

Earlier this week, while working on my laptop at home, something bad happened. I know there are many ways to avoid this disturbance, but I somehow missed the warnings. I probably gave it permission. My computer began to update mid-sentence. Suddenly, the screen became blue with the dots dancing in a circle in the middle. These words appeared: “Working on Updates. 1% complete. Do not turn off computer, this will take a while.”  

I didn’t actually lose anything, but I had only a little time to get too much done. Frustrated, I stared at screen, impatiently watching the number go from 1% to 14% to 21% complete. It was taking so long. Eventually, in a somewhat embarrassing grumpy huff, I stood up from my desk, and decided to take my dog for an evening walk.  

Outside, the air smelled like spring and as I turned down one of our neighborhood streets, toward the west, a perfect thumbnail moon glowed in the sky straight in front of me, big and low in the sky. It was the kind of moon where you still see the full sphere of the moon, the sun shining on the small corner of that celestial ball to make the perfect, thin crescent.  

The moon stopped my cranky steps and I let out a deep breath, like I hadn’t really exhaled for days. Standing there on the uneven cement in the dim light of the moon, my own sense of peace went from 7% to 49% to 96% complete.   

If even machines need time to update their operating systems, to check for bugs, and ensure things are running smoothly, then surely, we humans need the same. We, too, require space to process changes, download some grace, remember what matters, and remove the malware with some confession. This is what prayer can be for us – a kind of internal update and rewiring, to connect to the great cosmic goodness of God in ways that refresh and renew us. 

These weeks before Easter, known as Lent, invite us to take seriously our practices of prayer. Prayer isn’t only saying fancy words while kneeling with our hands folded. It can be rambling sentences, journaling, or contemplative stillness and silence. Prayer can be a whole lot of things, whatever opens us to the goodness and presence of God, anything that connects us to this source of our lives. Prayer is even a quiet walk with a goofy dog under a crescent moon. 

Just be ready to turn off your phone or put a sign on the door: “Working on Updates. This will take a while.”  

-Sara Olson-Smith, associate pastor

11 Comments on “Update in progress”

  • Marta Anne Lucas

    April 6, 2024 at 8:04 am

    Oh Sara! One slip and the computer/laptop/phone goes into la la update world. Well what is next on my to do list🤔
    Thank you for your words of wisdom!
    Marta Lucas

  • Sheila Mesick

    March 16, 2024 at 6:06 pm

    Sara, your words add to a heading I call “ keeping it real “. Thank you.

  • Marci Barnhart

    March 15, 2024 at 1:48 pm

    Wise words I. This crazy world. Thank you for sharing.

  • Marcia Willi

    March 15, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Sara… loved the message where you mentioned “ download some Grace”! Always asking for God’s Grace, in this hurry scurry world of ours!

  • Jeanne Withycombe

    March 15, 2024 at 8:23 am

    I could really relate to this , Sarah. Thanks. It’s one of the reasons I garden.

  • Debbie James

    March 14, 2024 at 10:30 pm

    My laptop did the same tonight as I was packing up to leave work. It gave me a few minutes to reflect on my day and what I was grateful for. The most inconvenient times for this to happen sometimes turn out to be the times I need a break the most. Glad to hear you and your pup both benefitted from a walk. 🙂

  • Mark Walther

    March 14, 2024 at 7:40 pm

    Your words have a special way of effectively reaching many others…Thank you!

  • Anke Maass

    March 14, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    Great words to ponder on. Thanks

  • karen wolfe

    March 14, 2024 at 3:26 pm

    thank you for sharing…pastor..:)

  • Vicki Felger

    March 14, 2024 at 2:24 pm

    Sometimes it’s amazing the lessons these techy instruments give us….Update, that’s great!! Another of my favorites is Reboot! Perfect message! Thanks!

  • Deb Lamp

    March 14, 2024 at 1:38 pm

    Great message, you are correct we do need to take time for ourselves. Update! Love the message

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