That Elusive Extra Day
written by Rev Gary Heard

The Eighth Day on February 29th... thereís an irony here thatís too important not to pass up on. Once every four years, we get thrown an extra day in the year, an extra day in summer. And what do we do with it? The fact that it happens to fall on a weekend makes not a whit of difference: it gets swallowed up in the flow of the ordinary. Even the single tradition associated with the day (the one day in the year when a lady could ask for a gentleman to marry her) has been lost and swallowed up in the broader cultural shift.

The lesson is a clear one: it is not enough simply to adopt a name, or even identify a need which you seek to fulfil. Many are the institutions which began as a powerful movement and are now swallowed up in administrative inertia. And our task is made the more difficult in a sense by swimming against a number of cultural tides.

We need to be clear about our purpose: about building a model of community and christian life which intentionally creates space for the things of ultimate importance. About finding imagery and symbols from the ordinary moments of life which convey the purposes the kingdom of God. About allowing each one of us to be ourselves and creating space for exploration in which we are free to discover and explore ideas together. About a worship life that makes a difference in this world, and brings Godís promised future into the present.

The Eighth Day is about recognising that God speaks outside of the normal flow as well as in them, that God speaks outside of scripture and the church, as well as inside of them, that God is about creating an emerging community connected to and flowing out of all of creation rather than a disconnected theory of life and death. And that all of this flows out of a community grappling and searching together.

The opportunities and the imagery of Godís work is around us all the time. Are we able to ďstep outsideĒ of our routines regularly enough and long enough to sense God at work, and speaking?

February 29, 2004
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