Ministry

Why did the girl throw the clock out the window?

She wanted to see time fly.

This week has been full. Since I last blogged, I’ve had three church folk in the hospital, two annual meetings of local boards on which I serve, shared in inauguration fever by becoming President of one of them, written and chased down church annual reports for our own meeting this Sunday, wrangled two children who had a ridiculous 4.5 day weekend off from school (last Friday noon through Tuesday), bid farewell to #1 Son as he returned to college (with all the attendant folding and packing), worked with the youth group, attended supervision, got a work-team started on repairs at the now-empty parsonage, met with realtors about possibly selling the parsonage, obsessed about the non-funeral being held for a longtime church member who hated God (more on that below), and all this on top of the usual week’s responsibilities: finish sermon, lead worship, meet with Youth Group, be present to Nursery School teachers and parents, teach Bible Study, rehearse with the Choir, do some sermon prep for this Sunday, etc., etc., etc.

Oh, and work on my day off, which ought to have been today. And realize that I will also be working tomorrow. Sigh.

So, time flew.

Thing I felt best about this week (and there were lots of them): finally getting on the phone and calling some of my homebound members and scheduling several visits for next week. That has fallen to the bottom of the list during the holidays and after, and needs to rise again. After I hung up from the last of those calls, I said to myself, “I feel like I just got out of the shower! So clean!” It was my first visit in this congregation that made me believe I was truly in the right place doing the right thing, and it continues to be a valued part of my ministry. But I am also very clear about how easily the unseen can become the unacknowledged.

Thing I felt worst about this week (not so many of these, thankfully): the non-funeral. A 70-ish man, who belonged to the church for many years, died while living at his winter home. I know the family only slightly, since they are away from September to late May. But I do know that he claimed to hate God. People who knew him, even his wife, would say it so casually. “He hated God.” He believed God had deliberately punished him, through the death of his daughter, suddenly in her 20’s. In respect of his wishes, the family did not have a religious funeral. I understood the situation and gamely spent Thursday morning helping ladies from the Guild prepare the Vestry for a reception rather than leading a funeral. Meanwhile, the family and friends gathered at the funeral home for a “Celebration of Life.” And as I thought about this, I grew sadder and sadder. How can we celebrate a life that is defined by hate? It’s really better not to believe in God at all. Hating God, being filled with rage and unable to let go of anger and disappointment over decades, how could you live a life that would offer anything to celebrate?

Time flies, even for those who are stuck in one place, in one attitude, in one emotion. Time flies, and life ends, and still God waits for us. How I wish I could have said that to them.

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