Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Sunday Jitters

I am struggling with the message for Easter. It is the day in which we celebrate Christ rising from the dead, but it is also the day we received a message we are called to share with the world (that Christ has risen). There must be balance in the way in which this message is shared with the congregation and all I am feeling right now is disappointment in their unwillingness to participate in the services we held throughout the week.



That is not the right tone to take with a congregation filled with once a year visitors and out of town guests. Yet...there is certainly a responsibility placed on the Pastor to speak the truth in love. There is a fine line though between righteous rebuke and resentful jerk. I hope it is a line I can successfully navigate. If not I will have missed an opportunity and hurt my ability to serve this congregation.

I know some people think that the Pastor just pops up and speaks each Sunday, but I find that the task of preparing for the weekly sermon is draining, inspiring, fulfilling and filled with potential miss steps all at the same time. May God guide me and all those still finishing their Easter Sermon. [Or you could do as my Father in Law suggested, "use the one from last year no one will remember"]


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

Good Friday service was great today. As a Pastor I rarely get to hear others preach, so getting to hear five Pastors and one Elder preach in the course of one service was a real treat. 

In the past I would have found it hard to "hear" the message shared by other ministers. My life view was so filled with judgement that it was impossible to be present in the moment. This Good Friday I heard some amazing and inspiring words and I also heard some theology I don't agree with, but each preacher brought something of value with them to the pulpit. 

It's taken me 37 years to figure out that there is value in all relationships. Yes, even with someone I don't agree with on all things. 

This is huge for me. 

[Now I just need to learn to accept the congregation I serve the way it is. Instead of driving myself crazy trying to figure out why a church filled with such amazing Christ filled people isn't standing room only every time we open the doors.]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

I took part in a wonderful Maundy Thursday service this evening. It was the first in a series of four services between today and Easter (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Son Rise, and Easter Services). 

The music was perfectly executed by a wonderful bunch of musicians and my only disappointment was that there weren't more people present to enjoy the performance. 

Tomorrow's Good Friday service is going to be a long but exiting day. I find that I am nervous with anticiption for what the day will bring, you see the tension about the unknowns is always a little maddening (unknowns like attendance, potluck, preachers). 

On a positive note, I saw a whole bunch of people tonight who hadn't seen me in a year and no one mentioned my weight loss or my health. 

I hope this trend holds tomorrow and I am able to keep the focus on others and off of me. I really do hate being the center of attention (said the guy who stands up front and preaches). Seriously though, if all goes well tomorrow I will be able to relax a little and a lot of the pressure will be off.

Just got to keep plugging along. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Liberation and Escape

My favorite artist just put out another cartoon that perfectly explains why reading is such a powerful tool and he did it in just 10 words. 

Check it out here...

149. MOTHER JONES: Sit down and read

I don't know about you all but for me reading provides escape, laughter, brain food, and has always been such an important part of my life. 

Some people see it (reading) as a chore but I have always thought it was amazing. In fact one of the suckiest parts of being an adult is there has been less time to read. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Define

Many of us claim to be good people with our words. If asked we might say that we try our best to be good to others, that we would help those in need, and we would certainly insist that given the opportunity we would back these verbal intentions up with real world action. Yet far to often when the opportunity to prove our words are true presents itself we fail to live up to our own billing. 

Today I had the opportunity to prove my words...to prove that I am actually the "good person" I claim to be.

While out picking up matching towels for the bathroom from Macy's (we had some gift cards) a woman dropped her wallet. I picked it up and there had to be 30-40 hundred dollar bills in it. 

Now listen... 

1.) I am not rich and could certainly use the money. 

2.) The woman who dropped the wallet had spent the prior ten minutes yelling in Bangla at her family, giving me a bad headache while I was waiting for the cashier. 

3.) No one saw the wallet but me. 

4.) I wanted to keep that money. 

So I picked it up and gave it to my four year old to return to the woman. I wanted her to see what we do when we find something that is not ours. I wanted her to know her Dad is a good guy. I wanted to prove to myself I am a good guy, one whose is capable of ignoring my base desires so that I can do what is right. This time Good won!

The fact is we all have moments in which we can prove our words are real. Be it our generosity, our love for others, or perhaps even our faith. I hope you all do well this most holy of weeks in enduring your words match your deeds. 

God Bless.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Not So Easy

I was reminded today, after a friend came to visit, that no matter how old one gets the nagging question of who you are and what your purpose is still pops up. 

This might be because the answer to these questions change for every season of our life or it could simply be that as we grow in wisdom and in age our understanding of our calling on this earth grows with us. 

Marianne Willamson points out that this evolution of understanding is okay...that it's part of the process. 

She reminds me that If we wait for clarity before we are willing to begin the journey then we will find years later that we've done nothing and gone nowhere while waiting for the clear path to be laid out ahead if us. 



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lenten Exhaustion

While most of my teaching colleagues are off to enjoy a week of sun and fun somewhere far warmer then NY I am preparing for Holy Week. 

I love Holy Week!

But...I'm not the energizer bunny that I once was. I felt this hard truth today. Yesterday we met to prepare the hall for our Good Friday potluck and by the time worship service ended today I was DONE (sore in my hips, arms and legs/pure exhaustion).

I am going to have to pace myself this week or I won't make it. 

On Wednesday we have our last Lenten Soup Supper, Thursday is our Maundy Thursday Service, Friday is a 12-5pm Good Friday Service, and then it ends with a long day on Easter Sunday. 

Sounds like a lot (because it is!), but I am excited. Holy Week is filled with passion, hope, and love. The best part being we participate in it as a church family. 

Slow and Steady then will be the task.