For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)
I am singlehandedly trying to resurrect cancel culture. No, not celebrity cancel culture. I’m not that powerful. I’m talking about the cancel culture that died in 2020 when we invented the phrase “We can shift online.”
Before our hybrid world erupted, there were times church meetings would be canceled in winter by snowy weather and we stayed home in fuzzy pajamas with steaming mugs of peppermint tea. There were times when too many people would call out of a meeting because they were out of town and instead of hopping on Zoom, we would hop onto the couch for a night of relaxation.
We discern potential agenda items for monthly committee meetings like clockwork, but sometimes we are called to discern whether we need to meet at all. The decision of when to pivot or put down our work becomes a permission-giving mini-sabbath, a prayer of thanksgiving for found time in a too busy world. It’s Spirit’s deep breath making itself known and inviting us to slowly exhale. How else do you explain the quiet burst of joy that comes when an email proclaims, “Tonight’s meeting is canceled. See you next month.”
This isn’t to say that online options aren’t wonderful (they are!) or that sometimes canceling isn’t disappointing (that happens too). It’s to remember that when we default to assuming the show must go on, we blur the lines between what is urgent and what can wait, where our presence is needed or where we can honor an absence, when it is time to shift online and when it is time to log off.
God grant me the serenity to accept the meetings I cannot cancel, the courage to cancel the meetings I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.