At day's end I had the realization that today was one of those really GOOD days. To be sure, the weather was stunning in the Berkshires, and that helps. But what really rings true has to do with the content of this day: it was all about ministry - real ministry - a quiet, compassionate quest for the presence of the holy with real people. It is why I went into this work 30 years ago and why I love it still. There was no bullshit today. And as I spent time reflecting on what actually took place, once again the core of my ministry was revealed: I am most at peace and grounded not when I'm doing big and so-called important things (although they happen from time to time); no what strikes me as most authentic is when I spend time in tender and honest conversations, offering prayer, sharing study and searching for the presence of the Lord with people who want to go deeper.
The day began cautiously thinking about how best to help one of the aging folk in our faith community transition into a more limited commitment. This is complicated and needs to be handled with love and respect. And when our planning conversation came to a close I was touched by the creativity and conviction that runs so deep among my leadership team. They truly seek the mind of Christ.
As the morning matured, I checked in with my staff and then celebrated midday Eucharist. We are reading through the "Sermon on the Mount" this summer and shed some tears together over the second beatitude in Peterson's reworking:
You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
There is nothing "beautiful" about this truth: it hurts and aches forever to lose what is most dear to you. It is humbling and humiliating - and, at the same time, it can be liberating, too. After Eucharist I had the privilege of planning a wedding vow renewal ceremony. Then I spent sometime with my church sexton exploring a seminar we hope to do together on "PTSD and Veterans." The afternoon came to a close finalizing the wedding logistics for a young couple who will be married next Saturday.
On one level, not a lot of "important" things happened today - certainly not a lot of social justice work - nor anything that anyone beyond a select few might ever notice. I think that was one of the blessings because it felt like Psalm 4, the other reading at today's Eucharist, that states:
Complain if you must, but don't lash out.
Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say.
I have God's more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees...
Today I tasted a sweet portion of "God's more-than-enough" in the relationships that were shared, in the quest for integrity in each encounter and a living commitment to faithful living and real compassion. As one of the songs at the Jewish Seder says: dayenu!
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