In which I “get real” (aka whine) about some of the challenges a pastor faces on the way to worship.
It was one of those mornings. The sort where you’re cruising along, feeling pretty good about the way things look to be going, right up until you arrive at the church, where…
You overhear yet another conversation that makes you wish adults could be forced to watch Sesame Street lessons on playing nicely with others.
You run into someone you think will greet you warmly and you get “oh, hi.”
You head over to the sanctuary to find the furniture you removed from the entry area (so that people can enter and leave without feeling like they’ve gone through a funnel) has reappeared, requiring a conversation about space and welcoming and trying this just for a couple of weeks to see how it goes…
You come back to the office one more time to find an elder poring through the Book of Order (No one does this on a Sunday morning before worship just for s%!#s and giggles. Actually, I can’t think of a time anyone would be reading the Book of Order for giggles, not even while on the toilet) and thus must begin probing tenderly, covering your concern with curiosity…
The choir director comes over to let you know that a conversation about the bare chancel has turned into “let’s move those plants back up there” even though everyone who moves to the pulpit looks like they are searching for Dr. Livingston in the jungle…
You are putting on your robe and stole at the last minute and the back of the button in the middle of your chest decides it will cut right through the thread meant to hold it on. No time to repair, no time to undo all the buttons and swap out for the other robe…
So you warm up with the choir, hoping the colorful stole distracts from the missing button because really, it doesn’t matter.And when you head over to pick up your mic, you see that the visitors (!!) coming in have no trouble getting their wheelchair through the vestibule and are being warmly welcomed by the deacons.
And when you go up to the chancel, the dreaded jungle is still stashed away in the back of the sanctuary, and everyone nods in agreement when you speak about the emptiness of the chancel and missing the Christmas greenery. And then, as you pass the peace, the warm smile you expected early is combined with a hearty handshake and laugh.
All is well.
And all would have been well with furniture and foliage where I didn’t want it.
Or if 20 people noticed the button.
Or fussed about the typos I missed in the bulletin.
Because I am loved.
I am claimed.
I am called.
I am gifted for the work I came to do this morning.
Because the sermon and the renewal of baptismal vows and sharing of ordination and installation promises that I had prepared, mixed with the music we had chosen for the day.. all to help our congregation hear and believe those truths, also renewed and reminded me that walking in the way of Christ is messy, that serving is not about being served, that sweating the small stuff just makes me sweaty.
Maybe I should add to the list above that I am a goober.
And a bit of a cliche.
And that when I remember rule number 6, it’s easier to trust that all will be well.