Fry On Friday: “Busy,” March 17, 2017

          I did not take Communion when it was offered this month.  People do that sometimes.  They feel guilty or unworthy for some other reason.  Maybe they didn’t like the sermon before communion, I don’t know.  But guilt wasn’t my issue.  And I thought the sermon was okay.  After all, I’m the one who preached it.

        During the sacrament, members had been invited to weave personal prayers into a tapestry hanging from the table in front.  Returning, they had to descend three steps; I stood there to offer a steadying hand.  Then one of the elders whispered that two people sitting near the back had not received Communion because they were unable to walk that far.  So the elder and I provided delivery service.  When we returned, the sacrament had just finished.  It was over, and time to offer the benediction.  I didn’t take Communion because I had been too busy. 

            I’ve been busy a lot these days.  And I don’t like the effect that has on me.  The Communion experience was only symbolic.  When I’m ready to write Fry on Friday, however, and reflect on how I’ve sensed God’s touch in my life this past week, how is my faith affecting my life…lately I come up empty.  That isn’t symbolic; that’s real.

            Apparently, doing too much of “God’s work” gets in the way of feeling God’s presence.  It isn’t just a God-thing.  I remember now that when I stay too busy for too long, life itself grows less interesting.  “Hey, Dave.  What’s going on?”  (I pause a couple of seconds to take the question seriously.)  “Nothing much.  Just staying really busy.”  Technicolor days turn into a gray blur.  And God, along with my family, and laughter, and small surprises of delight all become distant acquaintances.  A couple sentences ago when I said, “It isn’t just a God-thing” – that was a lie.  It’s all a God-thing.

            I don’t need to give up chocolate for Lent.  I need to give up this pedal-to-the-metal pace.  So the next day, Monday, my day off, I actually took the day off.  I left my laptop unplugged until the power reached zero.  This helped prevent me from checking email, 90% of which are work-related.   (“I’ll just check messages for a minute” always takes at least half an hour.)   I went outside to dig in the dirt.  I went to a movie in the middle of the afternoon—who does that?  Answer:  the three other people in the entire theater. 

            The next morning, I felt like writing again.  I know that, like dieting, a single day of rest isn’t going to completely turn things around.  But it was enough to make me feel the difference and strengthen my resolve to ease up on the busy-ness and ramp up on rest.   I’m thinking one day of rest out of every seven might be a healthy ratio.  I don’t believe I originated that.  I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere. 

Dr. Dave Fry is the senior and founding pastor of Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Georgia, which was started in 1985. Send comments to “Fry on Friday” at

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