Thursday, April 15, 2010

This people

The last two and one-half weeks have been pastorally taxing. The biting, gasping reality of cancer. Graveside service for a well-loved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. An extended period of fasting for Holy Week. Humble confession of my past leadership failures to old friends and talk of how that caused them great pain. The sudden, unexpected death of Emma Knopp in a car accident. Two full services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter morning. Emma's graveside service followed by her memorial service attended by 750 people, the largest group of people ever to assemble at CAC. Chairing an Administrative Board meeting dominated by our discussion of church finances not keeping up with expenditures for the last five months. Reaching deep into the bottom of the barrel to come up with a message for Sunday morning. Facilitating a group of John Barber's family and friends to remember his death in a motorcycle accident one year ago at the place he died just across the Columbia River from Astoria. And there's more that must be kept confidential in honor of those who have let me into their pain, struggles, and setbacks.

But interspersed with the above were some moments of light, laughter, and fun. Like Hannah coming home from the University of Oregon for the weekend to celebrate Easter. Like going to hear Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller in concert at the Crystal Ballroom. Like enjoying our favorite food at Pho Van's restaurant with four other couples from CAC.

Today was my sabbath day. I try to take Thursday for myself, to do whatever I have to do to bring rest and renewal to my soul, mind, emotions, and body. I got up early and drove into Portland to one of my favorite coffee shops. I read. I journaled. I sat and stared into space. I people-watched. I tired to relax and let go of everything I was carrying. I listened to Patty Griffin blaring out of my car speakers on the drive into Portland and back to Canby. I swam one thousand yards. I ate Pad Thai for lunch. I took a nap. I read a few of my favorite blogs. I ran four miles and listened to an interview on my iPod with a philosopher-theologian-church planter from southern California on the challenges of leading a church in our postmodern culture. I ate dinner and spent some time with my family. It has been a good day and I am thankful to be alive!

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