Finally, Writing It, Interim Ministry, Writing

Back at It

It's that time. It's Saturday morning, and I'm preaching tomorrow morning, and since I've been on vacation this week, I've got a sermon to write.

I don't usually arrange it this way–I prefer to have vacation begin after preaching and include the following Sunday–but for a variety of reasons, this was the way it needed to be. It's just harder to get the motor started after a week of idling.

This is also the first day I am full time in the newer of my two jobs. I've left the Freeport UCC and said all my goodbyes and passed along the necessary information to the long-term supply pastor who will be with them through the end of the year, at least. Today I am fully in the employ of Y1P, as their Interim Associate Pastor.

I'm still working out exactly what that job means. Interim ministry is a funny hybrid of pastoring and consulting, and it seems this particular interim will be those things but in a much different ratio, with the emphasis on making sure certain programs continue apace and the consulting more of a condiment than the main course or even the side dish.

This also means I'll be preaching much less often, and I have to wonder what that means for this blog, which was titled in such a way to suggest I would be engaging the lectionary with regularity. I saw it as a way to deepen my reflections and sharpen my writing, but I also saw it aimed toward the weekly sermon. 

Now, I wouldn't dare ask what's the point of it if I'm not preaching, since there is plenty of point to engaging with scripture, for all kinds of reasons. But there is a sense of loss for me that there will be no end-product, or no need for one, most weeks. This month, while my colleague is on vacation, I'll preach a lot, but after this month, it's once a month for the duration of this job (at least until he figures out any other time he's taking off).

I can't decide whether this just makes me sad, which is silly since I knew going in it would be this way, or whether I ought to see this as an opening to do other things with my writing. I'd like to think there is some deeper purpose to this particular direction my ministry is taking, if only for a year, that there is something I will learn that I needed to know.

But for today, there is a sermon to write. I am back at it.

Finally, Writing It, Interim Ministry, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Saturday, Early

I could be two different places today, but due to the wet weather and the need to have a voice for preaching tomorrow, I'm staying close to home. I feel frustrated by having a medical reason for this (the knowledge that I am more prone to become sickly due to immune-suppressing meds for RA).

Both the scriptures I'm looking at for tomorrow involve people expecting to do a particular thing and being frustrated by others. Before coffee this morning I tried to work through my decision for today using scripture as a lens, but that did not seem to help. No matter how I related myself to David, or Jesus and the disciples, I got the same answer: standing in damp grass/fog or being out all day in the rain (weather forecast different for the two locations/events) is not wise for a person with a final sermon to preach tomorrow.

Maybe that would be good sense even without the medical complications. And perhaps I should have been able to see that when the Clam Festival, the Bernese Mountain Dog Summer Picnic and the last Sunday at Freeport are all the same weekend, something would have to give.

And hopefully not me.

So, instead of driving 60 miles each way to the picnic and enjoying the dogs on a foggy morning in wet grass, I'll be home drinking coffee and finishing a sermon, and hoping the thunderstorms hold off for my Y1P folks working at the Clam Festival today.

And contemplating limitations, and their source.

Finally, Writing It

On the Bulletin Cover, a Poem

Early in the week, in that over-organized preparation period for an event we could not really prepare for at all, I picked out readings, wrote a liturgy and chose this poem for the cover of tomorrow's bulletin. I have no idea what I meant to say about it, but hope that posting it here will be a help to someone, or to me.

THE
RISK

You take a risk
when you invite the Lord

Whether to dine or
talk the afternoon

Away, for always
the unexpected soon

Turns up: a woman
breaks her precious nard,

A sinner does the
task you should assume;

A leper who is
cleansed must show his proof:

Suddenly you see
your very roof removed

And a cripple
clutters up your living room.

 

There’s no telling
what to expect when Christ

Walks in your
door. The table set for four

Must often be
enlarged and decorum

Thrown to the
wind. It’s His voice that calls them

And it’s no use to
bolt and bar the door:

His kingdom knows
no bounds of roof, or wall or floor.

~Marcella Marie Holloway