"The Pastor's responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God." -- Eugene Peterson, from "Working the Angles"
It's Holy Week.
What does a pastor do during Holy Week?
Well, there's worship. Lots and lots of worship. Worship every night, the next three nights, to be exact. And worship preparation, too. Deciding the format of worship, and who will be participating in worship (readers for Good Friday and Easter Vigil, sometimes who will be getting their feet washed on Maundy Thursday). There is sermon preparation.
Holy Week often includes some visiting, some hospital visits, nursing home visits. This week I led a women's Bible study: they were reading Mark 14 and 15. I stopped in to see a woman who has been battling cancer.
I have been making a lot of phone calls to ask people to read a part of John's Passion Narrative on Good Friday. I've been imagining how the readings will go during Easter Vigil, and wishing that I didn't have to worry about how to work the lights. (I am technologically challenged). Also, we baked bread this evening. One of the 5th graders came and helped.
It's a time to consider that pastoral responsibility: to keep the community attentive to God.
You might think that this means to keep the community listening for God when they come to church, to hear the story that we tell in the sanctuary, the story about God's fierce love.
But that's not exactly it.
It's my responsibility to train the ear for signs and sounds of God in the sanctuary, so that we can all be attentive to God in every part of our life.
So, I do want people to come to church during the next three days.
And then I hope that we will all go our and notice God amid the noises and distractions and meanness of our everyday life.
I hope we will be attentive to God in those who are bent-over from serving, in those who are hungry, in those who are abandoned. I hope we will notice God in the old woman who counts her pennies at the grocery store, and in the family across the street who does not yet speak English, and in the little girl who made the bread for communion.
I hope we will taste God in bread and wine, and then go out in search of more.
I hope we will look for signs of God where hearts and lives are broken, and then live for the mending.
It is not such easy work, being attentive to God. There is so much meanness in the world, and God is hiding underneath such mean things.