Saturday, September 30, 2006

Anticipating Francis and the non-anxious presence

As Sophie and I headed out for our morning walk, we had the chance to savor the first real, chilly day of autumn. There have been a few mornings throughout the past couple of weeks that have come close; but this morning, there was that simple and distinct chill in the air that is truly a sign of the end of the growing season. Top that off, literally, with a low mist/fog that hung over the thin ribbon of woods backing our neighborhood and the honking of geese flying in the new light overhead, and the place fairly reeks of fall atmosphere. I even wore a fleece cap instead of my de riguer ball cap. It felt great...

And yet, even in the midst of that serene calming, I was stressing. There was stress about finances, because this time of year means income "catch up" with people's pledges (yes, they do need to be reminded), along with the beginning whisps of stewardship. There are budget reports, and dreams to be articulated about ministries enabled, begun and empowered for the coming year. So, I stress about stewardship, both in the present moment and in the near future.

I also stress about tomorrow: St Francis' Day. That one day out of the fall season that is its own self. Our service schedule changes from three liturgies to two, and the main liturgy of the day is the blessing of the animals and a liturgy of eucharist in thanksgiving for creation. Great stuff, and logistically challenging because we hold that service outside. Or, at least, we hope to hold it outside. Rain is forecast. So, we might be inside, or out. I make that call before the early service...And then I make some calls to get whatever is going to happen, to happen.

Finally, I am getting ready for CREDO. More stress. That professional retreat will be a welcome break from parish office/life routines, but I have learned that being a rector means existing in a world where it is extraordinarily difficult to disengage.

Some might say that is part of the job, but I ask you...When you are walking your dog at 6 AM and it is a beautiful fall morning with steam that is rising from both your exhalations joining a perfect sunrise mist...Is that the time you should be stressing about ANYTHING?


The day did ease a bit. There is now plenty of bread, wine (home squeezed grape juice from Trinity's native concord grapevine augmented with a bit of Welch's--something that would make my Methodist forbears laugh out loud!) and all the logistical eventualities are covered as best they can be. Finances and stewardship really will be what they will be and all I can truly do is witness the ministry of Christ in thise place throughout that process.

So, perhaps, in our anticipated damp walk this evening, perhaps Sophie and I will be able to enjoy the rain as much as I had hoped to enjoy this morning's mist.

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