What you always do.

It was one of those ice breaker kinds of questions: “What was your favorite part of the fair?”

Different people described different parts. One person said, “We always go to the same things. Every year I buy a small carved cat from the cat lady. That’s what we call her. I have six of them now.”

She was almost apologetic about the routine. I’m not sure if she thought there should be new booths and vendors, or if she thought that visiting the same ones from year to year showed a lack of initiative or creativity.

But innovation and novelty are not always positive values. When you are maintaining an identify, when you are revisiting your community and inviting someone new to join you, consistency and loyalty may be more important.

“We always” can precede the statement, “Can’t we do something new.” But it also can precede the statement “And because we do, I remember who I am.”

An hour later we were gathered in the gym. Our congregation has one of our gatherings there. After the sermon, we sang an old hymn. “Take my life,” it says to God, “And let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.”

Consecrated is an old words that means devoted to, or set apart for the use of. A parking space with a sign that says, “reserved for the employee of the month” is a space consecrated to the use of that person. So the hymn is telling God that my life is reserved for his use. The song goes on to talk about words and money and time and hands and feet. It is a whole-person dedication.

I used to know all the phrases. I had to work to remember them. So many words go through my head, go out my mouth.

I was reminded that I need to go back to the places in that song more often.

Because when I do, I remember who I am.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.