I did preach this past Sunday, and for a change I knew what I was going to preach before entering the pulpit and on top of that was able to write a manuscript, which you can find here. Though, I do not guarantee that what is written is how it was delivered but for my regular readers that should go without saying. But I am not going to muse this evening on my preaching process.
I have been on vacation from Reconciler this past week. I put it that way because I stayed at home, and I simply took time off from doing church work and stayed home Kate and I had a few relaxing evenings together, but I also was doing some needed work for the community, organizing our files and getting some other things in order, in preparation for hopefully becoming the community of * Culture is Not Optional(*CINO).
The week has been surprisingly restful, given that I also was in the last stages of working on a website as well. I am not quite sure how I actually pulled off staying in town and not doing any church related stuff (one exception the chair of the church who is known to drop by the the community more or less unannounced, did stop by after a meeting he had with our host church to report on the meeting.) I have realized this week that even on Mondays which I take "off" I am at least thinking about what the coming week has in store for me with regards to Reconciler, and I probably end up doing something related to church, even at times going to a meeting a church gathering on an occasional Monday evening.
Taking time off from pastoring is also odd given that I do not earn my living by being a pastor. I still have a little trouble getting my mind around that not only what I do has little to do with how Kate and I make a living (in this case what both of us do has little making a living). I also at times feel like I am not doing anything, because both the work of the community and church do not pay anything. Yet, this week has made it clear to me that I am packing in a lot into my life given that the removal of only one makes doing the other things much easier and gives me time to do what I have felt I did not have the time to do.
I am tempted often to worry about the money and survival. I would like to not feel that pressure of wondering how we will make ends meet, and that desire at times is very strong when I think if I just gave up Reconciler and Holy Trinity that pressure would be gone. And I wouldn't have to give up my calling as Pastor in doing this just settle in an actual Covenant church that could pay its pastor. Of course the pressure of life and survival and other pressures are always present. Taking a vacation helps remind me that in the midst of all the difficulty and uncertainties, I am doing what I am doing and not getting paid both because this is what I believe I have been called to do and because I like it. My life is crazy and full, and I am not always sure I am up to the challenges and I often feel a bit of a failure. But its fulfilling and I am doing the things I love, and pastor a great congregation small thought it is. And the community and those who come and hang out and frequent our community diners are interesting and wonderful people if also a bit puzzling and frustrating at times.
Well I still have a couple more days of vacation, I am not at Reconciler on Sunday, thinking of going to the Greek Orthodox Church in the neighborhood. Oh and just as I was going on vacation I finished an article on church interiors for *CINO's e-zine Catapult its an interesting journal that publishes on line every two weeks. This issue which is the last summer issue (it isn't published in August) is called "Building in the Kingdom"