50 degrees today and sunny - it is an amazing thing to happen in Minnesota at this time of year, but gives me the excitement I feel each year that Spring indeed is on it's way! It has been raining a lot and most of the snow has been washed away - making way for the greening of the world around us. Of course, other places are green right now - but it's been awhile here. It is only March, and this is teaser weather - getting our hopes up just to see snow usually in the next two weeks or so. But, somehow it's not so hard to bear anymore because you know it won't last. You know that Spring really is around the corner and that the coldest, snowiest, harshest part of winter is over. I wonder what it would be like without these extremes of weather? I just enjoyed San Diego for a week and I wonder what it might be like to live there year round. Do people get tired of nice weather? I know I get very weary of Minnesota winters, and yet I love it in Minnesota. I love spring and the feeling of new life - summer and the lush green - fall and the amazing colors and cool days, but winter isn't my favorite. However, I love how the cycle of the seasons reminds me of all the cycles of our lives. How things never stay the same no matter how good or bad it is in the moment. Would I miss this pattern of season changes? Would I forget the many spiritual lessons this pattern of season changes has taught me and reminded me of? Would I even miss winter if I didn't live here any longer?
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Today is Sunday and I didn't go to church. Funny, most parishioners probably think that pastors always go to church! But I'm on vacation, and I even need to take a break from going to church. Church for me, or feeding my soul, isn't just dependent on a sanctuary or community of faith. God doesn't just reside within a building on Sunday morning. Walking along the ocean, watching the myriad of people all around me, listening to the sound of lapping water, trees, flowers, mountains, visiting the Japanese Friendship garden and sitting in their meditation space. All of these are things that nurture my soul and don't depend upon my community of faith. I am on vacation and it has been lovely. My husband and I have spent now six days in San Deigo. We did not rent a car. We are not trying to see all the sights - though usually in the afternoon we have gone somewhere - Seaport Village, Old Town, Balboa Park, Horton Plaza, Old Town Trolly Tour, and to a movie. We are not running around trying to see everyone we know. We are usually only out and about for a few hours before we return to our hotel. We sleep, read (I've read four novels), sit in the sun, have coffee, talk and just plain rest! Heavenly. It's a time to refresh and I have needed it! It's the season of lent and it's traditionally time to think about giving something up to focus on our faith and relationship with God. But as a pastor, I give up so much of my life that this lent I gave up a week of work to replenish my soul. This has helped me focus on my faith and God's love more than giving up one more thing - this vacation has helped me realize anew how deep and wonderful the love of God is and how nurturing being away from work can be. I'll go back with new energy, new insight and a deeper desire to find the ways that God is calling me to serve.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Another long day at work and I'm thinking about preaching this Sunday. I always find the task of preaching interesting. Sometimes I look forward to it, sometimes I see it as a burden and I resist it. Most of the time I read the text as soon as Sunday afternoon when the preaching and tasks for the current Sunday are finished. I find myself always thinking. I talk about the process of writing a sermon for me being much like making a good stew. I put the base ingredients in (text), then add other ingredients throughout the week (commentaries, other readings, illustrations, movies and books I've read or seen recently, activity in my daily life) and it all just simmers around. I stir it occasionally all week long. Then, at the end of the week I find that it's done and I have a stew (sermon) - sometimes rich, thick and deeply satisfying. Other times a little watery. Sometimes adequate but still lacking something. I don't know any other way of doing this preaching thing.