Wednesdays are usually long around these parts, because they begin with a weekly Matins service at 8:00, and don't end until confirmation is over at about 7:30. In between, anything can happen.
I was in charge of the Matins service this morning, the first Wednesday after Easter. We lit the new paschal candle for the first time, I read the story of Mary at the tomb from John 20, and we scattered a few seeds from the new creation. (You see, Jesus really is the gardener; Mary M. didn't really make a mistake.)
After snacks and coffee, it was my turn to lead the 9:00 Learning Event: a Bible Study. The Pastors usually take one Wednesday a year and lead a Bible study. I can't remember now why I thought the Sunday after Easter would be a good idea. It may be that I had remembered that Holy Week was not quite as stressful for me, the Associate Pastor. But this year was different, something I will not elaborate on at this particular time.
Last week, as I was wracking my brain for one-hour Bible story ideas, I thought about "Lessons from (some) Bible Children". That's what I did, focussing on Isaac, Miriam, Samuel, David, The Young Maid from the Naaman story, The Boy with the Lunch, and The Little Girl Who Got Up. My Favorite: Samuel.
Afterwards, I had a conversation with a church member about some matters of concern, made a few phone calls, led my "Bag Lunch Bible Study". Thought that my sermon Title might be, "The Next Week."
I picked up my mother-in-law and brought her to church for a funeral this afternoon. We sat together, except for the part where I assisted with communion. Sitting in the pew for a funeral in this church was a rare experience. I've been the chief presiding for the funerals here for the past (almost) year, until this week. I alternated between thinking it was a nice break, and feeling a bit blue about not being the one to proclaim the gospel to the family of a woman I had known for thirteen years. (I am a more-than-fair funeral preacher, if I do say so myself.)
Afterwards, we had more coffee and cake, and I took my mother-in-law home.
I sent a few e-mails, and went to congregate dining (pizza burgers!) before our confirmation session. We break from our weekly sessions during Lent, so it was the first time I had seen the students for awhile. I have seventh graders. We got updated on our ups and downs, highs and lows, had a moderately successful conversation on a variety of topics, including 'what does it mean to you that Jesus is alive?' (I liked that one.)
At the end of class, we took a few minutes to pray. I had them each pray this way today, "I pray for..... (someone or something I care about). Then we would all say together, "Lord, have mercy." I modelled by praying for my dad and my mother-in-law.
Then they prayed. They prayed for the world. One girl prayed that in the future all wars would be virtual, and no one would die. One boy prayed for another girls' grandmother, who had cancer. They prayed for their families. They prayed for their friends. They prayed for peace. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
It was the best thing that happened all day.