When we stretch it sends oxygen to our brain and stimulates our circulation. Physical stretching is important but so is mental and spiritual, for clarity and continued health. In a worship service we rely on the ritual, the sameness, the comfort of knowing what will happen next. Along with these elements, however, we need to practice stretching; new hymns open our ears, hearing ideas that are different from our own expands our minds, and being pushed beyond our comfort zones works out muscles in our heart that cause health. Like the hymn says, “Don’t be afraid of some change!”
We have often exchanged ideas about building bridges; stretching is different. To build a bridge over a chasm is to collect materials or resources and put them together. Stretching means using the already existing materials or resources, but rearranging or changing them in such a way as to cover more area than previously expected. We stretch paychecks by doing some things less than usual so that an unbudgeted item can be obtained. It means we have reprioritized. We stretch the boundaries of our comfort zone by agreeing to give up some aspect of our own comfort so that the previously unobtainable goal (new member growth, maybe?) is now obtainable.
Stretching is good because it sends oxygen to our brain, but we need to be careful about its use, too. Stretching the truth means pulling out the elasticity of the truth so that only a very thin layer of the original material—the truth—now covers the area. We need to know what we are stretching, and how it is going to cover that new area. Will it be helpful? Will it be beneficial? If so, to whom?
I encourage all of us to stretch this summer. Stretch your body, your heart, and your mind. Don’t be afraid of some change! Even if the resources being stretched are the same ones always there, used differently.
In peace with love,