Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The End of the Day

It is the end of the day.  Most of the lights are off.  I'm ready to nod off.  Scout the dog is on the rug in front of our bed, quiet.  An empty glass of wine is on the nightstand.

There's a cool breeze coming in through the window.  There was a little rain earlier this evening, right before I left the church.

I got up early this morning, let the dog out, got dressed for church.  I needed to print a funeral sermon and some questions for a worship conversation we were holding at 8:30, with our Matins groups.  We want to find out what people in our church value about worship, what is unique about our congregation's worship,  so we are getting together with as many groups of people as possible.

We have a full Wednesday morning program at this church, starting with Matins at 8:00, a coffee and conversation time at 8:30 and a speaker at 9:00.  We were going to sandwich in a conversation from 8:30 to 9:00.  I had a funeral at 11:00.

When I entered the church, I ran into the Program Speaker, a retired pastor who now spends his free time writing books.  He asked me if I was a writer.  (How did he know? I thought, but did not say). "Do you have a manuscript?"  I had to admit, no.  I have a number of haiku prayers, though....

I stuffed the half-sheet of paper with his biographical information into my pocket, and gathered the group for the worship conversation.  "What does worship mean to you?" was the first question, which was met with a full and silent moment, and then a flood of responses.  We went on from there.

Afterwards, the funeral director was already there.  The family started arriving.  I did some practicing, honing the final sentences of my sermon for the morning, talked to the family, put new batteries in my microphone.

I have to admit, funerals have a way of erasing my hard drive, so I made a list of a few things I needed to do after the funeral.  Edit a letter to the congregation about summer worship.  Write a call to worship for contemporary worship.  Call a bride-to-be.

Right before the funeral, a man held out his hand and said, "Do you remember me?"  He and his wife were at the last funeral I had, just a little less than a month ago.  I had not known that their families were connected.

During the funeral, I spotted him, sitting in a pew with his wife.  Tears were running down their faces.

We had communion at the service today.  The woman who died -- loved receiving communion.  When she entered hospice, she said, "Now I can get communion every day, can't I?"  When she died she was 88 years old, married almost 63 years.  She was a woman of strong faith and strong love.  She was also a good friend of my mom's.

My mother came to the luncheon.  She wore the shawl I made for her two Christmases ago, even though it was a little too warm to wear it.

After the funeral I edited the letter.  I sent it to the office coordinator for formatting.  I took a little break and went over to visit with the family of the woman who died.

Then I came back to church, wrote some worship material, made some phone calls, had supper at the church:  sloppy joes.  There was another worship conversation in the evening.  "What does worship mean to you?"  we asked again.  "Why do you come to worship?  Why do you come back?"  One woman said, truthfully, "my son brings me back."

Finally, I met with a confirmation student and his dad.  We talked about faith and doubt and families.

It is the end of the day.

1 comment:

Elaine Dent said...

And the Word became flesh. Pastoral ministry, any ministry is a strange juxtaposition of mundane tasks and eternal truths.