Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The call

Well, it happened. My husband got his first middle-of-the-night-emergency-phone-call-to-the-pastor. It was sometime around 1:30 AM last night. The neighbor of one of our parishioners had just committed suicide, and the family was all over at the parishioner's house, freaking out. Could Pastor Tom come over?, she asked. Things were not going well for the family. Could he come over and offer words of comfort?

He would come over, anyway. Words of comfort might be a struggle. (Are there any words?) He would do his best. He would climb out of bed and get dressed in the cold, wondering what sort of situation he would find, a roomful of terrified strangers, no doubt, and meanwhile his wife lying awake at home, praying that he wouldn't hit a deer on the way there, or fall asleep at the wheel, or be lost to the dark like the son who had just done such a thing to himself, to his family.

This is ministry. This is the "neither death nor life...nor anything else in all creation" moment that Paul was talking about. God meets us here or nowhere at all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dispatch from the New Zone

It's amazing how quickly we moved into our new home in southeast Lansing, Michigan. Not only did we have a whole crew of folks from the church helping us, but after moving seven times in three and a half years, Tom and I have it down to a science. I've said this before, but the people who invented those foldable file boxes with handles should be sainted, or at least in the running with Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the Pope. Saint Chad of Milwaukee or something. Whoever you are, God BLESS you, dude.

So, with a little time on my hands before we leave for vacation, I polished off Kathleen Norris' Dakota, which seems appropriate somehow as I move into a subdivision on the edge of farm country. This afternoon I biked nine miles almost without meaning to: the land is perfectly flat, the roads are quilted north-south and east-west in mile-long blocks, and because it's impossible to get lost, you keep going. You cruise along, checking out the fields and wetlands and geranium-bejewelled farmhouses, and before you know it you've biked to the next town. Norris writes, "Living in a town so small that, as one friend puts it, the poets and ministers have to hang out together has its advantages" (105).

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Morning Prayer

In my previous entry--which I posted in late August--I talked about attending daily morning prayer at my seminary, predicting that many of my classmates would eventually stop attending it after their initial enthusiasm wore off. Irony of ironies, shortly thereafter I made the commitment to join my household in daily morning prayer instead. So I haven't been at school for prayer either. And who knows: perhaps the case is similar for all the others who "drift" away? My apologies, all.