I’m part-time at the church I serve; we plan for me to be there on Sundays, half-days on Mondays and Wednesdays, maybe a half-day on a Tuesday, and a full day of writing and planning done at home. It’s a nice plan, but this was a week where the plan didn’t really work out at all. And Monday was Memorial Day!
After church on Sunday, I went to visit Ernie and his family at the CCU of our local hospital. He’d had a bad heart attack… and died on Tuesday evening. Tuesday afternoon, I attended a planning meeting for an ecumenical Vacation Bible School, and we began talking about an ecumenical service for the 10th anniversary of 9-11. On Wednesday, I arranged for a substitute to attend a board meeting in my place, visited with Ernie’s family and then attended a meeting of the Search Committee and after that meeting, helped a couple of members find our new web site. On Thursday I had several conversations with members of another family, planning a memorial service for their mother, for later in the month. It was late on Friday before I was able to get to studying the texts for Sunday. Saturday, we had Ernie’s memorial service — a wonderful service for a wonderful man. In the meantime the guest speaker who was to lead a program on Sunday was interviewing one of our members and studying our historical records. I finished my sermon about 10pm Saturday night.
Not all weeks are so full. Usually I get worship planned by Monday, and the sermon mapped out by Wednesday. But this has been one of those times which happen from time to time in all churches — Ernie’s was the third funeral in about a month and we still have three parishioners in varying places of needing pastoral care. Taking care of those more urgent needs puts a pastor behind on the more administrative-looking stuff. Getting everything in, while keeping to a part-time calendar can be a challenge.
Oh, and did I mention the molar which suddenly needed dental attention? Or the sore shoulder which is resistant to the urging of my physical therapist? Or that dratted trigger finger — both annoying and painful? Any one is no biggie – but all three at one time? Well, let’s just say that when you can’t use your left shoulder or your right hand, some things become more challenging!
Through all of this, I’m impressed by the way in which our fellowship extends its love to those in need. And by their flexibility when the less urgent just doesn’t get done. That’s one of the great characteristics of the small church, I think. We’re less likely to be consumed with delusions of perfection. And I’m grateful for the rest of my life — for the time I get to spend in study and fellowship with friends from the church where I have my membership, and for the time I spend making music.
God has blessed our church, and God has blessed me.