As some of you will know, I’m regularly up 3:00 am in the morning. I read the Bible and other books, journal and pray. This morning, as I headed back to bed my mind was full.
Monday is going to be my day off. How can I separate myself for a day (make the day “holy”)? I live church work and ministry — I could almost say I breathe it. That is a calling I think God has given me for this season of my life. The longer I’m in a local church, the more I know of the layer behind the layer behind the layer we call the “faces we put on in the morning.” For that reason there is deep joy and deep sadness that indwells my bones and marrow.
This is the reason a separate day, a day of rest, is virtually impossible for most pastors. Until . . .
I struggle with God being in control. I struggle with the idea that my input is not the most valuable indicator that a situation will change. I struggle with going to the dark side of ministry and finding out that God had already been shining his light there — without asking me!!
So, for one day, can I just let God run the world?
Every once in while sermon illustrations pop up that don’t fit your sermon but are just plain good! Here’s one.
You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus: 1. An older woman who looks as if she is about to die. 2. An old friend who once saved your life. 3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about. Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car. This is one of those moral/ethical dilemmas once used as part of a job application. You could pick up the older woman, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again. The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. I love what he came up with. What did he say? He simply answered: “I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams.” Never forget to “Think Outside of the Box.”
Our local library’s booksale is on. At the local mall, locals wander by the global display of literacy. There are books on cooking, and books on romance, and books on travel, and books for kids, and books that span the ages.
I like Dilbert and B.C. comic books. So I picked them up. They are a quick read and bring a smile to my face.
I also like C.S. Lewis. Today I saw his book on “The Problem of Pain.” I’ve heard of this book, read reviews and even quotes. Now I have the actual manuscript (as do thousands of others who purchased the paperback).
In one of those pick and point approaches, I opened the book to the following quote.
My own idea, for what it is worth, is that all sadness that is not arising from the repentance of a concrete sin and hastening towards concrete amendment or restitution, or else arising from pity and hastening to active assistance, is simply bad; and I think we all sin by needlessly disobeying the apostolic injunction to “rejoice”as much as by anything else (55)
A taste of one day off was good. Thanksgiving Monday was enjoyable.
Before we head into the weekend – and the busyness thereof – I’ll take another day. I’m finding my days are becoming a little too long, and the amount of responsibilities too many. In search of balance I’ve been taking time to consider my own busyness.
One of the things suggested by others is hallowing one day a week. I’ve known this for years — even preached it to others. Now I’m trying to fit my life to that principle. In previous years my days off were dictated by jobs that left Sunday free, or another day. So, I took a day off!
But, as I work here I feel a responsibility to see things done — to the detriment of my own health.
So, to get a balance I’m working on the need to “sabbath”. And before I even get there tomorrow, I have a previous commitment that was set a month or so ago (early morning). So, my day off will begin at 9:00 in the morning. From there on, . . .
For all the business of the last few days, this is the day for rest.
We were up somewhat early and headed out into the yard. The leaves from previous days were still on the ground. As the morning progressed, we were able to place them in bags, knowing the town would be picking up leaf gatherings the next few days. Between our neighbour and ourselves around 30 bags are all bagged!!
The afternoon and evening were spent doing nothing. Or at least, after the busyness of the last few days, this felt like nothing. Smokies for lunch and lasagna for supper. A quick watch (1 1/2 hours) of a Rob Bell video, a movie, and an episode of Corner Gas (for which I am truly sorry that the final season is upon us!).
And now, as I write this blog, I’m preparing to rest. I’ve put off for tomorrow what is best left ’til tomorrow. A day of rest is as good as a day off!
Well, the potluck topped off the day.
We began with an 11:00 start. There were greetings, and singing and a talk on the basis for our church. There was laughter, and brass instruments and an amazing piano solo.
Then the potluck. More food that stretched over 5 -6 meters of table. Everything from casseroles to beef.
And the talking!! We had pictures of 70 years of church ministry that people didn’t even get to see because they were chatting.
That’s a good sign. And in the end, we were encouraged by heritage and excited about what God is going to continue to do.
No place I would rather be!
2:30 arrived this afternoon and the festivities began. The afternoon session was around 86, the evening supper around 120 and more joined us for the evening meeting. Fun, food and fellowship!
More details tomorrow. Right now I’d better hit the sack!
I was listening to a radio interview today on CBC . The interviewer was praising a couple for the stand they took on requiring a housing organization (Pentecostal based) to accept them even though they weren’t married. Their age was probably beyond my own. The interviewer took the tack that this action on the part of the Pentecostals was unconscionable.
On the same day another case of spanking children was considered to be completely heathen (OK, not quite that term, but the idea was there).
With both of these the sense was one of condemnation. Of cultural suicide.
If we think we are a tolerant society, think again!
I started early this morning.
Displays of our 70 years as a church were first order of business. Then completing such things as bulletins and a music practice. Finally the day ended with labeling photos and placing them in albums.
For me, this has been refreshing. Things are looking good. And people, who have arrived unexpectedly, have perused the displays and stood examining pictures and events.
It’s all good. And so tomorrow will seek a bit of tweaking and then Saturday at 2:30 begins the festivities!! See you then, if you can make it.
I suppose money doesn’t grow on trees.
I suppose economic clout is lessened when credit increases.
I suppose elephants are uneconomical.
You see, their ears are way bigger than would normally be expected. And the tail is just a swish on their body — I would have expected at least a broom. And their legs are trees that could have instead been been sculpted pillars.
Where God talks of finances and keeping clear of debt, we would be wise to follow through.
And where animals are created to grace the earth, maybe we need to be a little more thankful for the elephants of the world. Now, I know some consider elephants gawky and awkward. I like elephants — I love their beauty. Maybe I’m on God’s side on this one.
Oh, and ask my kids what my favorite animal is! The elephant!!
Thus, the rant — and this has nothing to do with the free association of donkeys and elephants that arise from the south.
So now, I’ve touched on world recession, US politics, and beauty — I suppose!!