I write this installment of my daily blog at 6 am. As I look at the day that awaits me it appears slightly daunting. I’ll arrive at the church at 9 am. to get things ready for the 10:30 am. service. There will be the sending of the sermons via email to people who are away and unable to attend church. There will be checking in with our Minister of Music, there will connecting with the lay person reading the lesson, and a short prep session with the sound folks. I usually go to the kitchen to thank the hospitality couple. They will offer tea and coffee to folks who stay after church. And then I will put on my “uniform”, a black gown, and walk into church at 10 am. and greet anyone who is seated in the pews. I receive a lot of important information in this time of welcome. People will share some significant news with me that I will follow up on later.
I preach about 20 minutes each week. I don’t use notes, so there is a fair amount of memorization that goes into the week. Once the service is over I am usually in the Hall to talk to people, these conversations usually last until 12:30 pm. I’ll get a bite to eat and then it is off to the local Senior’s Care facility to lead a service of about 30 minutes. There content needs to connect with people who rarely leave the building, seniors, many with forms of dementia. If I can make eye contact, make some form of connection with them, I consider it a very good day.
Then it is off to the hospital, I have a colleague who has been there for over a week. He is away from home and does not know a lot of people in the city. He appreciates the visits and so do I.
Later still, at 6 pm. it’s off to an inner-city church for some circle sharing time. About 12 gather to share their week, their hopes and their fears and be with others. My role in this process is simple. I craft a question that animates a conversation and then I get out of the way. Most of these folks have little conversation all week so they appreciate the stimulating talk and the reality that others are interested in their unique take. At 7 pm. we stay in the circle but move into worship mode, everyone leads a different portion of the service. Even the sermon time is shared, I usually share some of what the commentators have written and then the expanded circle (usually 3 or 4 more people arrive at 7 pm, some are street people) make their points. It is never dull. One of my favorite features is that one person sits with the theme, the conversation, the liturgy and she selects a hymn as our “anthem” and together we rise as the “choir” to offer our praise in song. It is always moving.
Why share this? Because I have learned that rather than looking ahead at a busy day, sighing, looking forward to its end, bemoaning our predicament (I know I am not alone in having busy days) it is not only more productive to see the possibility in each part of the day, but it is also a more joyful way to live one’s life. Rather than sighing, as I type this, I am excited by what lays ahead.