Monday, September 21, 2015

Moon Shot

When I was just a little tyke I had great and grand aspirations for life.  I wanted to be so many things "when I grow up" that I could not keep track of them all.  I thought it would be terribly cool to drive one of the big-rigs.  For a while I fell asleep to visions of piloting my red Mack truck down the highways of America.  The crashing surf on my right and green clad mountains on my left.  Then I got run over by a drunk truck driver (literally) and decided maybe that was not the life for me.  Perhaps spurred on by the booze laden truck driver I took a couple of years of criminology at the front end of my flirtations with higher education.  It would be awesome to wear the badge and bring the bad guys to justice.  I love to write and I squeezed some semesters of journalism in after the crime-phase passed.  I had so many plans ...

And then God whispered.  (He does that. You have to listen closely.) And now for forty-one years I have done something that I cannot explain.  I am a "reverend" and I tripped over the best job description I have seen for what I do this morning when somebody sent this my way ... Click here to see what I do

So there you have it.

Lately I have been noticing the "ebb and flow" of serving as a pastor.  One day not too long ago everything went great.  I mean, really truly great.  It was the kind of day you want to spray with a quick sealing varnish so that it never changes and it is always there to look at.  Sadly, that doesn't work.  You have to let the day go the way of all the days before it.  The next morning I got up early and went to a hospital to pray with someone that was having a serious piece of surgery done.  Life and death kind of stuff.  Then the next day I conducted a funeral and tried my best to prop up a grieving family.  I do not want to save those kinds of days.  They can go ahead and slide off into history.  The next day?  A friend bought me lunch.  That is a really, REALLY big deal because my friends never pick up the tab!  So that was another day I wanted to varnish.

Can we talk about church for a second?  I dont mean a church service.  I want to talk about church.  Church is "us."  We are church.  So by way of definition you know what I mean, right?  I am politely saying I want to talk about people.

I love people.  Have you noticed they are all around?  Big one's.  Little one's.  Brilliant one's.  Not so brilliant one's.  They circulate through life as though some giant fan kept them stirred up.  Some times people are happy.  Some times they are angry.  Some times people are helpful.  Some times people cause pain.

So here is the thing.  Happy people make me happy.  Angry people make me angry.  Perhaps this is true of you too.  Or maybe, because God assigned me to watch out for people and help them through life, I  might be a little more prone to being swayed by their moods and words.  Would you like to ruin my week?  (Please say "no.")  Tell me that our church services stunk yesterday.  Tell me why you are unhappy.  Be sure to tell me that you just might go look for another church if things don't change soon.  But whatever you do, don't ... DO NOT offer any solutions.  Make it clear that your happiness is my problem.

Honestly?  I've been looking.  I've looked the proverbial "high" and the proverbial "low."  And I find all kinds of things that God tells me I am suppose to be concerned about.  But I just cannot find one that says I am suppose to make people "happy."  I'm pretty certain I am suppose to teach them to love God, to walk like Jesus, and to bless and take care of their neighbor.  Truthfully, the Holy Spirit has never seemed too concerned about making me (or, as best I can tell, anyone) happy.  He's trying to make us Christ-like.

Okay.  Well, it is Monday and I spent most of this day with a man who is within days of the end of his life.  And I spent the rest of the day with a crazy lady.  (Nope.  I'm not going there.)  I don't suppose I'll be varnishing today.  But I was reminded yesterday of an old song that I love.  It is written and performed by Sara Groves.  Have you ever wanted to get away and go someplace where the world will not mess with you and the church can be free to be the church without all of the mess of dealing with the hard stuff?  (Of course you have.  We all have.  But we would not go even if we could because we really want to do what Jesus tells us to do.  And Jesus tells us some days won't be worth varnishing.  Though I believe He says it in Aramaic.)  It's less than 90 seconds long yet it pretty much describes how I feel as this week begins.  Give it a listen.  Maybe I'll even varnish it.  Watch Sara sing a great song right here...)

P.S.  I'll be over it by morning.  Tomorrow is going to be a great day!


The Dashboard Poet said...

I have long ago "varnished" you, preserving for myself an amazing brother, pastor, writer, husband, father, friend and fellow servant. Just sayin'.

Now go see "A Walk in the Woods" (despite its silly rating), and reflect on this---- every step we take, good, bad, and otherwise, is purposed on arriving at a predetermined, but delightful endpoint. Still, some days you eat the bear; other days, the bear eats you.

~ jim