Thursday, March 20, 2008

Strange things in this modern world

Okay, so today I was hurrying out of the ICU to head back to the church office to try, on this Maundy Thursday, to have some sort of a start on an Easter sermon (okay I wasn't hurrying that much, I really didn't want to get back.) I passed by the hospital chapel - one of many I pass - we have 5 different hospitals that folks regularly end up at. I regularly forget which hospital has what where. Anyway, the sign on the chapel door was advertising various holy week activities, but one really caught my eye. "Interfaith Worship celebrating Good Friday and Easter, 12:30 p.m. Friday." Umm- there's pretty much something wrong with all of that. Interfaith?? And why Friday? To bring together hospital staff who are away on Sunday?? But mostly I really want to know how one worship can celebrate Good Friday AND Easter. I think I can no longer get so cranky about churches that want to have tenebrae on Thursday (although really, can't we just let them have their last supper - he'll die soon enough!)
Celebrating Easter on Good Friday. That's a new one for me!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pastoral Boundaries

I resist having to be a pastor to someone who's not a part of my congregation. I'm realizing that lately. Now, this does not mean that someone needs to be a member - if they've shown their face through the door, ever, or if there's a chance they might ever do so, I'm happy to be pastoral with them.

But if it's completely clear that they only want something from me (like a financial handout or my presence at their group's event), my pastoral hat just doesn't want to fit. And, in the current situation I'm in, if they are a staff member of my church but go elsewhere, I really don't think I should have to act like their pastor. I think I am then their boss only. But somehow when I act like their boss only, perhaps because they see me being all pastorly to the church folk, somehow that ain't enough. I don't think I should have to call to check in on sick staff people unless they're having surgery or something serious going on.

I guess I feel like my obligation to them ends at the door, where it doesn't with people who are a part of my church. I think if I care that way about the whole world I will pull myself to pieces. Ugh, that sounds so harsh - I do care about them, and everybody in the whole world, and feel obligated to them as my sisters and brothers, but not as their pastor. Maybe that says it better?

I don't know how the old-time pastors did it, or small-town pastors still do it today, where everywhere they go they are "the pastor." I need to go away from all that and be ME, a mom and wife, that can just think about my family for a few minutes and belch if I want to. My little zoo is enough to keep track of without having to rescue every creature in the land. Anyway, that's my rambling thoughts about boundaries and sanity for today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Return to the Friday Five

Signs of hope,signs of spring Friday 5

Here's my answers:
What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :
1. Sign of hope?
A nearby congregation, which ours partners with on many things, recently experienced a terrible tragedy. There are amazing signs of Christian love and hope in this midst of this horror - people within and without that church reaching out to support them, and even to support those who were a part of the perpetration of the horror, and my own congregation has been wonderfully creative in ways to offer love and hope to all of them, even though we stand outside it all.

2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?
The scripture readings for this week - resurrection and new life all over them babies!

3. A sign of spring?
Spring is popping out all over the place here - most in the form of weeds, however. It's supposed to be 77 degrees today - sorry, sorry to those in colder climates. But I do love the little tiny purple flowers that are gracing my front lawn, I'll take pretty weeds any day.

4. Challenging/ surprising?
A member in my congregation who I'm certain is in early Alzheimer's, who gets things astonishingly mixed up, had a new story last night about attending adult Sunday School last week and being told there were only enough seats for the people who usually come, and there was only a chair for her because one of them couldn't be there. She was quite upset that a church would have a closed sunday school class. The story is completely untrue, I have no doubt, but I've also learned that telling her she's wrong is a bad idea - she will be mad at me for months. Not a surprising story - but extremely challenging. She is not open to my prodding about talking with her doctor. Ugh.

5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....
I hope I get through Easter! And I hope I manage to be also able to be fully present with my kids during upcoming science fair/little league/preschool/doctor's appointments/fun play time in the midst of Holy Week prep. Basically I hope for balance!

Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you?
Paul Simon's Graceland! An album my mom used to play around the house and I still love - full of hope!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Warm Weather

I think I needed to hibernate for a while. Changing rhythms to having a baby again, darkness so early in the evenings, complicated things at church and in the wider family. Now, however, the nights are stretching longer again, and in just a few short days we jump altogether into a whole extra hour. The baby knows me now, wants and needs me, in a way she didn't before. Only daddy and I will do, more often than not now. Her smile is unbeatable, and her unsatiable exploration astonishing.

The weeds are springing up everywhere, and so now my biggest sadness is letting go, once again, of having a garden this year. If I can't even read the newspaper each day, which is relatively important in my opinion as I ought to know something about the community around me if I dare claim the name pastor, well, then, I think the garden will have to wait for another year. I can dream that next year the baby will toddle around the yard, and the older two and I can peruse together the seed catalogs and plan vegetables to spill over onto the table. But this year I'll have to squeeze time in to get to the farmer's stand two cities away, or to market night even though it's on my sabbath eve. This year Lent is too early, and Easter is upon us, and then our church's third sacrament, the rummage sale, then and our season gets too hot too quickly after that for planting in the ground.

So instead I dream this year of planting a schedule that will nourish me, and my time with my partner and children, and my time for writing and creating worship, in the midst of all the other needs around me. Here's to hopeful harvests!