Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Credo Tuesday

Tuesday, Sept. 11

What a rich and varied day. I started early with some personal yoga and study time around 5:30 and then headed up to the lodge for breakfast and our first full day of work. That started at 8:30 with morning worship and the most remarkable experience. The chairs in our worship space are heavily upholstered, quite comfortable, but when you sit down the upholstery and padding in the seat makes a distinct sighing sound. So, when we all finished the first hymn and the Invitatory…and went to sit down for the recitation of the Psalm…it was as if the whole room exhaled. Each time we rose and sat, there was an “aaahhhhh” from the chairs.

Our first session was titled “Veni Creator Spiritus” and was led by one of the spiritual faculty; Bishop Arthur Williams (retired bishop suffragan, Ohio). We sang a hymn often used to invoke the Holy Spirit before ordinations (the one we used at mine, actually) and talked about our varied experiences of God loving us and being thankful to us in our priesthoods…and how we experience gratitude, satisfaction and grace in our ministries. One thing Bp. Williams pointed out that has been my gift to walk with in the past hours has been the idea that through our baptisms and ordinations, our doing as clergy becomes our being.

Then, we had another member of the faculty give a talk on embracing challenge in ministry. He told a great story from his youth about getting stuck in a cave…and it was only when he “stopped wrestling with rocks” and relaxed enough tension out of himself that he was able to return to where he started. We talked for a long time about “getting stuck” and “wrestling with rocks.” It was a very rich discussion. I think it will take me a while to internalize most of the depth of that session’s content.

The afternoon was spent with plenary meetings breaking into small groups, and then we shared our lifeline plots and told our individual stories…who we are, and how we got to where we are right now.

Then, I resolved in the hour break to take on a hike that the staff of the conference center had pointed out to us yesterday. There is a mountain trail up to a gazebo that sits on the tip of a mountain overlooking the lake. The whole trip is about 5 miles and the map said (may take 2 hours), but the mileage was listed as only about half of the real distance…because most of it was straight up, and then straight down. About halfway up, I realized that it was a longer hike than I had planned. But by then, I was halfway there already and my stubborn kicked in. I figured that if it was uphill going, then downhill should take less time.

I was only a ½ hour late for dinner.

Tomorrow’s yoga will have to wait for the ibuprofen to kick in.

Then, we got our Clergy Vocational Profiles back from the tallying computers at the Church Pension Group. This was a survey I did online, asking 8 other Trinitarians to offer feedback on my life and ministry as they see it. It was enlightening. I was amazed at how much they and I agreed on my strengths and weaknesses…and was lovingly challenged to embrace some areas that I thought I was stronger in, when I am seen differently by those I work and pray with on a daily basis. This feedback and the work I do this week will fold into a CREDO plan that will take me through (first) the next year, and then on into the next chapter of my life and ministry. We still have vocational, financial and physical elements to workshop our way through.

Halfway up, I guess, means you keep going. At least, that is how I experience life at this point.

Amen.

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