Ever have those times when you have a million things to do, wish that you could have gotten some of them done in advance, but know that was impossible? Today, and really, this whole weekend is like that for me. But, all those things I need to do and have done today have been fulfilling and in the service of the Lord, so for that I am thankful. Today, I met with a parishioner for some pastoral work and some laying on of hands and prayer; I designed and planned three liturgies for this weekend's St. Luke's vestry retreat (a morning devotion based loosely on some Celtic prayers, a Night Prayer and a Eucharist, both based on the prayers from the New Zealand Prayer Book); I had a heck of a work out; I met someone for coffee; and I talked to a friend on the phone with whom I had not chatted in a while - we talked about her potential call to ordained life that she has just started feeling. In the course of that conversation she said a really nice thing that made my day. She said, "Ryan, I've always felt like I could talk to you about all those things that other people would just laugh at me for." Now, that's something I want said at my funeral (not that I plan on it coming up anytime soon). We talked. We laughed. We remembered. We prayed. And I hope we moved a baby step forward in some important discernment work that seems to be crying out to be done. She would make a great ordained person. Whether that's going to manifest itself as a permanent Deacon or as a Priest, we'll see, but she will make a great ordained person either way. It was a fulfilling and encouraging conversation. Pray f0r her with me, if you would, faithful reader.
Tomorrow, if I am to get everything done I need to get done before I have to leave for DeKoven for the retreat, I think I am going to need Prof. Emmett Brown's DeLorean.
In other news, the sermon went well yesterday, if "well" is an adjective that can be applied to that sort of sermon. It had the delivery I wanted it to have. My message was conveyed. And I obeyed the Spirit and didn't try to talk longer than the Spirit was giving me words. So, it was somewhat brief, but that's ok. It elicited several quite loud acclamations of "Amen" from the congregation, which is unusual for that congregation, so that made me feel like the message was received well and in the spirit in which is was given.
And now, I need to get to bed.
Your parishioner said "Ryan, I've always felt like I could talk to you about all those things that other people would just laugh at me for." You know why that is?
That means that you are exercising attentive and active listening. Really "hearing" what the person is saying and not going on and on about what you think you heard. True pastors are those who "hear" their parishioners and respond to what that person said. Or we judge them for what they said/did. That does not win people to Kingdom.
Often we do this "work", but don't feel like we are getting anywhere. Great to have the affirmation when it comes! Glad to hear you had a good day in the midst of the challenges.