Here then is this weeks Friday 5:
1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?
Friday is the day I do no work ever (except for funerals). When I was reading about Sabbath, somthing someone wrote make an impression on me: we keep Sabbath as a way of reminding ourselves that we are not in control; that God is. The work will get done somehow, someway. I need rest and to spend time with God. Last week I did a graveside service and didn't get Friday and I really needed it. As I look back on the last week, I'm noticing that there were times when I wasn't as present as I would have liked to have been. So, I do need that time.
2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?
Eeeekkkk! I never have extra food in the house. Just Lean Cuisines. If I had any hamburger and Ragu I'd invite them in the kitchen to chat while I cooked spaghetti. Otherwise, I'd suggest we go out and eat at one of the restaurants around here. I'm am blessed to live in a part of the city that has wonderful restaurants of all price ranges (and only a couple of chains) within walking distance or a five minute drive. If that wasn't appropriate, I'd call a friend and ask her to get some hamburger and we'd be back on Plan A.
Three discussion topics:
3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations.....
Very apt question for this week's Gospel lectionary reading (which I'm not preaching on).
I think repentence is an awareness of our sinful nature. Sin with a captial S. I'm a Calvinist in that I do believe we are born into a state of sin which I understand as recognition of our worst traits as human beings. (I'm reading an article in Time, don't know which issue as I'm always behind about the biological origins of good and evil in humans.) We must be aware of our dark side as the Jungians might put it and our helplessness before it as Paul might put it before we can see our need for salvation. I believe faith and salvation are trust in God's love and grace today and how we live our lives today in response to that love and grace and hope for tomorrow. So, it seems to me that repentence is a foundation of trying to live one's life as a follower of Christ; being aware of our need for grace.
That being said, I am not in contrast to other years and other places mentioning repentence this Lent. Almost every family in the congregation I pastor has been touched either by enormous pain and grief or deep disease and dysfunction. The depth and breadth of this pain is amazing to me. So, I am focusing on what we are waiting for in Christ's advent, not a cute little baby but the Son of God who is the Prince of Peace.
4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow.....
I'm trying to be open to the unexpected, the wondrous. A small group of us were hanging the greens last Sunday. One of the youth, about twelve, was in the choir loft messing around with the organ. I was waiting for someone to tell him not to play the organ. (Some voice in my head says that it will hurt the organ if you touch it and you don't know what you are doing. I can't place it in my childhood or the church where I was an elder for many years.) No one did and he began playing Halloween music. Then one of the young adults tried to get him to play Carols. He played a little and then began playing What Wondrous Love Is This? He will be playing that for our Palm/Passion Sunday service as the last hymn. (Yes, the music director was excited about this.) As far as I know, he's had no organ lessons though he plays at the piano and plays the tuba.
5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly...
I am not a detail person. Details make me anxious. Details are important. When I was working before seminary, my staff took care of the details. I hired three detail-oriented people and it was wonderful. One of the things I am going to have to do in the coming year is work more closely with our ministry teams to help them organize. I am not looking forward to this, but it has to be done.
Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?
The house is decorated. I'm having an open house for the congregation on 12/20. I haven't begun to plan for that. My son is coming to visit on Wednesday. I have bought no presents. I will be spending Christmas Day working on a session retreat for the following weekend.
I hope to take a half day on Christmas to pray, to give thanks, to read scripture and to be.