Thursday, January 12, 2006

Let me just say

that I love my job. I love that I get to share my passion with people, that I get to stand up on a Wednesday night and share the joy and frustration I find in our sacred text. I love that on Sunday mornings I get to see the faces of so many people as they are worshipping - see the laughter, the concern, the engagement, the (occasional!) boredom. I love that the random advertisements I get in the mail excite me - ooo, that looks like a neat book; wow, hadn't thought of celebrating Lent like that.

I love what I do and where I'm doing it. Which is great. But it also makes the sermon I'm trying to write that much more challenging. I know what it is to hear a call, answer it, and be affirmed of God's vision for me. I don't know what it is to struggle, not seriously, not for a long period of time. And for many, many people, that's part of the call - the struggle. So now I'm struggling with how to speak to such a powerful truth I have not lived myself. Maybe one of these catalogues will have an interesting idea!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Merry Christmas? Again?

Last Friday I had an unusual treat – attending on Epiphany a Christmas service that had been previously snowed out. The service was part concert, part nativity scene, part worship service. I thought it odd, at first, that we would be celebrating Christmas almost two weeks after the day. I know my liturgical seasons, know the Christmas season doesn’t actually end until Epiphany, and still as we sang What Child Is This and other hymns I thought it odd.

But as I sat in the service, heard the Christmas story once again, sang some of those favorite carols one last time, I began to appreciate this coda to the Christmas season. I also began to wonder why we don’t celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Why is it that after the 25th ends (and let’s be honest, for some of us it’s right after the opening of presents that morning) Christmas is over? Why, unlike so many other cultures and communities, don’t we enjoy a full season after our weeks of anticipation?

The service ended with an extended version of O Come All Ye Faithful but found me no closer to understanding my own behavior. Though I was no closer to my answers, I was resolved to continue thinking about them. As a minister, as a Christian, I’m going to meditate on why I can’t wait for Christmas to come and yet let it go right by in a day. I invite you to do the same. Maybe by next year we’ll have some answers, or at the very least some interesting reflections.

Friday, January 06, 2006

and in the same manner...

My sister Dawn just sent me the pictures she took of my ordination. I thought I'd post this one - my first time serving communion! I'm not getting a very good pour because I'm left-handed and the pitcher was set at the right hand - I was afraid I'd spill juice everywhere if I went for the big one.

After several months and several times serving communion, it was a pleasant treat to receive a picture of my first time presiding at the Table. I'm no longer anywhere near as nervous and we're working on that left vs right handed pitcher thing!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy No Longer New Year, Not Quite Epiphany

Has everyone recovered yet? Has anyone recovered yet? I'm still working on getting my legs back under me after the whirlwind that was the season - and my family.

I was a little nervous about this Christmas - it was the first one I was hosting for my family, the first one as an ordained minister. I was nervous that I wouldn't feel the joy and hope and excitement that I usually feel. I was nervous that Christmas would be lost in my long list of things to do.

This season came and went (well, for you sticklers out there, it's still here for a couple more days) and it was different. I was busier than I've ever been around the holiday, I didn't get to sleep in or wake up to look for my stocking (in my family we take the stockings down and 'Santa' fills it up and puts it somewhere around the room) as I was one of those who filled the stockings. And for the first time in I don't know how many years, I didn't eat the traditional Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner (though that's a lot more because of my newish veggie status than my new minister status).

Christmas was different, but it was also wonderful. I loved being among this church family, loved all the well wishes and celebrations shared, loved having my family mix with this family, loved my home being filled with LOUD laughter and so much silliness. I was honored to be able to lead worship on Christmas Eve and Day, blessed with the movement of the Spirit within me, with that warm joy and power it brings. And I was blessed with some familiarity amid all the changes - the candlelight, the boiled custard that always takes me 2 hours to make, the sounds of my sister and mother singing their own descant on Silent Night.

Hope all had a blessed holiday.