When I was in high school I played for our school’s basketball team, and one of the skills we were always practicing was how to pivot: when you were handling the ball (but not dribbling), how to plant one foot and rotate or turn around it with your other foot, to find an opening to pass, to move, to make something happen and keep the game going.
You and I, and we all together, know a thing or two about “pivoting” after having lived through the last year and a half. Dare I say, we might even consider ourselves pseudo-experts on this life skill! Can’t breathe in someone else’s air? Let’s “pivot” and wear masks wherever we go. Can’t go to the office or school in person? Let’s “pivot” to online work and schooling. Oh … wait … the numbers have changed so it’s maybe safe now and/but in limited numbers and with alternating schedules? Let’s “pivot” again and switch to a hybrid model!
Here at Redeemer, we’ve pivoted and pivoted and pivoted again, to find an opening, to make something happen, to keep the game going. In addition to recently returning to indoor worship (still with masks and cognizant of spacing), our latest “pivot” has involved beginning to live-stream services so we can maintain an online presence.
“Pivoting” has something to do with perseverance. Something to do with being willing to stay grounded while at the same time turning direction and looking for options. Something to do with being willing to be flexible, to do something differently, to take on a new vantage point. As a basketball player, pivoting allows you to see the rest of the court, where your teammates are, where an opening is. Similarly, as a human being in life, pivoting allows you to see what’s possible, to not remain stuck, to find a new way of moving forward.
In the service for an ordination of a priest, found on our Book of Common Prayer, there is a prayer that goes like this:
“O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world
see and know that things which were being cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Pivoting, I think, has something to do with being open to how the holy mystery of God’s Spirit is working in and through us, to create something new.
As a player on the court and as a human being in life, of course, there are other moves and other plays; pivoting over and over again, by itself, gets tiresome and weary. The good news is that life, like basketball, is a team sport (if you let it be), always in relationship, with one another and with that Holy Mystery in which we all live, love, breathe and have our Being. We are in this together! And we are never, ever alone.