Monday, December 08, 2008

Meltdown partially averted...Here's the good stuff

Though the end of the day was a real letdown. I really wish work wouldn't intrude to harsh my mellow when I'm in a good mood.

First of all, the news on our first fundraiser - we made a little over $1300 today. That's incredible. People were so generous - having this fundraiser on the 50th anniversary really worked.

Now, the 50th was wonderful. The liturgy was absolutlely beautiful. LP, you would have been thrilled. It was pretty much as high church as I've ever seen our little congregation get. Although I have to say, it still takes me back to see a woman in a chasabule. Our pastors traditionally only use them on feast days, and the important feasts at that, so this was the first time I've seen our interim in one.

Anyway, the sermon was awesome. The preacher was a pastor who is one of the supply pastors in our area. Her "real job" is as CEO for the largest non-profit hospice in the area. She presided for us a lot this summer when we were completely pastorless, and everyone loves her - especially the kids. She has real gift for giving children's sermons. I think that, if she wanted to do it, we would call her in a heartbeat. But she has three little children, and a fourth on the way. I think she wants something more...regular than being a pastor right now, especially since her husband is a pastor (at the Disciples of Christ church down the street).

Anyway, she preached about Chronos and Kairos, and it was a message I needed to hear. I've let myself be dictated by Chronos for so long, that Kairos has been virtually absent from my life. There have been times in my life when I have felt so close to the Big Guy that He (and I use that generically) has been almost tangible. I haven't felt that much lately. Oh, we are conversing, unlike when I went through my "dark night of the soul" period after the St. Al's CCC debacle. But it hasn't been the intimate, soul-baring prayer I've had at times in the past. I need to find that part of me again.

What I really need is a spiritual director. Because beyond that, I think I have some discernment to do. I made just a quick announcement at church this morning, and I had a bunch more people, including two retired pastors, tell me I should be preaching. Now, how they made that determination from me taking just about a minute to remind people about the fundraiser today, I don't know. But over the course of the past two weeks, about a dozen people - three of them pastors - told me that I should be preaching. And, like I said last week I don't know what to do with that.

Honestly, a part of me always said that if I had it all to do over again, I would have majored in theology, gotten my advanced degrees in Scripture, and taught at the college level. But the idea of being a pastor, of getting to celebrate the Sacraments and preach the Word, was an avenue that was closed to me until very recently. And to be honest, I don't think I'm truly called in that direction. I think it would exhaust and drain me, and I don't know that I am capable of working with people who are sick and dying. The experience I had taking care of my parents at a young age had a profound affect on me in that regard, and not positively (but y'all don't need me to expound upon my guilt tonight, do you?).

At the same time though, I love reading, teaching about, and talking about Scripture, and I have a more Sacramental bent than many in my congregation, and probably in my denomination. But what do I do with that? I'm pretty sure St. Al's ruined me for professional ministry, but is there something I can do on the lay/volunteer level that will use the gifts I've been given? And what would that mean for the scabs that are still there from St. Al's?

Add to this something that happened to me in college that I've never shared with anyone and probably never will. It's incredibly private and intimate, but it crops up in my mind every now and again and makes me question the path I am following.

When you put all these things together, I really think spiritual direction is the path I need to take to work these things out, and to find some Kairos time in my life again. But the majority of the spiritual directors here are Catholic, and I don't want to go down that road for a lot of reasons. There are some who are Episcopal, but most of them have close associations with the CCC, and while I know intellectually that they would keep confidences, I have a hard time trusting anyone who has any associations with that place.

Oh, the rest of the 50th anniversary celebration was wonderful, too. The hymns sounded wonderful - as bad as a bunch of white folks with midwestern roots sound on gospel and spirituals, they sound that good on the old standard hymns. Plus, we sang a hymn composed by our interim pastor that was just wonderful. The whole thing gave me an insight into our little congregation, and the tremendous potential we have, if we just stop holding ourselves back and start trusting God to guide us through change that needs to happen if we are going to survive.

And in completely unrelated news, I left my coat at church this morning. It was in the low 30's when I left the house at 8 a.m., but by the time I left church at 3, it was in the high 70's. Ya gotta love December in Louisiana!

1 comment:

LutherPunk said...

I think you are right about one thing: the questions that seem to be emerging for you are ones that could best be worked through with a spiritual director.

Find will be worth it...

And as far as lily white folks singing spirituals...yikes!