I always am astounded at my level of fatigue after three services. I am not really physically beat, at least I think so at first. There is more of a soul weariness to the sense of being done for the day.
That is compounded in that it is a long day, now that we have moved back to the program year routine of three services, Sunday School and adult fora. For my performer friends out there, imagine a five hour play in which you not only work onstage, but spend your time off stage interacting with the audience. You are always on. Luckily, my extroverted side kicks in and I enjoy myself. I am not so much performing as living into my role as celebrant, pastor, teacher, companion, etc. It is a wonderful way to make a life happen, and I wouldn't change it for a moment.
Still, it wasn't until I sat down to record that day's service numbers that I realized, both in body AND in mind, that this was the first time I had actually been seated since 8 AM that morning...and that was after 1 PM.
It was a good day, though.
I had three pretty decent sermons. Preached on forgiveness. Each one had its own variation on a theme, but I think the point of being willing to forgive as to be forgiven was received. Not an easy lesson to learn. How do we respond to being forgiven? Are we able to forgive in kind? To what degree? Where do we draw the line? I struggle with that, especially on this day of days. Four years ago, in the wake of the disaster, I "buried" two men who would never come home again. God bless Christian and Alex...their widows and families....and all the rest who died during and after that horrible moment when the first plane hit the Towers.
After services, Laura and I headed over to the Giant market, where some parishioners were holding an ingathering of goods for transport to the Gulf region. The women laughed when I asked what they needed most...they said: "baby food...and feminine products!"
No problem, I said. Reminds me of a story. "Everything reminds you of something!" they said.
Well...when I was sixteen, I had just gotten my license when my dad came into my room to ask a favor. He needed me to go to the store to pick up a few things...milk, eggs...and some stuff for my sister. NO WAY! I said....and he said, "Today, you are a man."
Shame and embarrassment had a way of dying quickly in my father's house.
After that, we celebrated with some sushi. A very rare treat.
I wish I could shake my anxiety over stewardship. I know a lot of that rests in my own fears, anxiety and arrogance...but it is hard to see what a slope we have to climb. My hope is that we all rise to the occasion.