Sometimes, ministry can be pretty monotonous. Not boring, mind you, but indistinguisable from the day before, or the day after. They kind of blend together.
And then there are days like today:
- I hunkered down at our local coffee house with four wonderful folks for my bi-monthly Thursday morning Bible study, where we compared the four gospel accounts of the Resurrection. I was reminded by one particularly insightful participant of the importance of women in the resurrection story, and that the men only came after the women told them about it. I thought this was awesome.
- I put the finishing touches on my Easter sermon and Maundy Thursday meditation. This was an occasion when I appreciated my neurotic tendency, developed in college, to have a paper done a day or two before it was actually due.
- I talked with a family in crisis who once again is thrust into unchartered waters; and the god-awful tug-of-war between wanting to do anything to ease the pain of a loved one and realizing that them experiencing that pain may be exactly what's needed.
- I had a little bit of a pity party. I won't go into the details, but suffice to say that ministry can be a lonely business sometimes, and a pastor's toughest times are when he or she feels like they're out there all by themselves (the comfort, incidentally, is knowing that there are others who totally understand this, including a certain carpenter from Nazareth).
- I visited someone who was taken to our local hospice home just this morning. It is a beautiful and frightening transition; emotions all over the map. The family asked themselves if there was anything else they could have done, and I knew they had done more than enough.
- I conversed with a friend who is struggling with what church means to them, and how to deal with change. The conversation ended with them feeling better, as did I (actually, come to think of it, I had two of those conversations today. How about that.)
- I walked on holy ground with someone facing the harsh reality of cancer and the precious gift of every second. I was reminded of how much I love this person and how much I hate cancer.
- I served communion to the 20+ people who came to our Maundy Thursday service. I admired the way this group tore off huge chunks of bread to dip into the cup, not afraid to take too much, because there always seems to be enough. The body and blood of Christ for you, I said to Emily. And to you too! she instinctively replied. That made me smile.
- I washed seven pairs of feet, young and old, using an old stole I wore in the service to dry their feet. I noticed something that, for obvious reasons, I've never noticed before: how people's feet are different and unique, just as they are.
- When I was done washing the feet of others, Brian came up to me: Is it okay if I wash yours? Absolutely it was. And so he did:
There are certainly monotonous days in ministry, where the emotional spectrum remains pretty constant. Today, my friends, was not one of those days. And you know what? I'm so incredibly thankful for that. And for my clean feet.