I’m at the office this morning, but it may be completely futile to try to get any real work done. You see, my fiance arrives this afternoon from Canada, to spend an entire month here with me. I’m so excited! This has been the longest wait we’ve had between visits since I met him face-to-face for the first time last summer, though we’d already known each other from online Anglican communities for ten years. But SQUEE! I can’t wait to see him! And tomorrow afternoon, we hop into the car and road-trip it down to Florida to visit my grandparents. I’ve ordered a whole bunch of butter tarts that are leaving Ontario this morning, both to treat my love and to tempt my grandfather, who has not been eating well.
I was thinking last night about my weekly lectionary posts, and how that practice has evolved for me. When I joined my parish home last spring, the rector told me that whatever ministries I wanted to get involved in at the church, he’d get me licensed for. My brain immediately said to me, license to preach? And I throttled my brain, because I didn’t want to have to wear that kind of a target. But the more I wondered how and why that particular thought had popped up, the more I realized that I yearn to preach the gospel, the word of God. A couple months later, I was struggling with the sense of call I’ve been feeling, and to try to put it away, I challenged myself. Warriormare, I’ll bet you couldn’t keep up the discipline of reading the lections each week, bringing them into your heart, and writing a sermon on them. So you should start lectionary-blogging, and see if you can keep it up. Well, I started this practice, this discipline, late last August. I had a bit of a hiatus between Christmas and Easter, with absolute craziness in my life. But the rest of the time, I’ve posted some kind of lectionary reflection each week. I’ve found it to be a wonderful spiritual discipline for myself. I read the lections Sunday evening or Monday. I let the words and images roll around in my mind and heart. And a day or two later, I write. Rarely does what ends up posted to my blog look like the original plan in my mind, because the Holy Spirit can be funny that way. (In fact, the ones that do end up looking like my original plan are usually the weakest ones. Heh.) And the next Sunday, when I get to church, I watch the readers and listen to them, and the lections take on yet a new and different shape for me. It is powerful stuff, and I love how scripture is giving form and shape to my week in this way.
I had a running joke with a clergy person at my parish, that she wasn’t allowed to start working on her sermon until I’d posted my lectionary reflection, and one week she emailed to say, “What? It’s Thursday – how am I supposed to get my sermon done?” So I got my post written and replied to her email to say, “There you go. You can write your sermon now. :-)” And despite the jokes, there have been a couple times she’s written to say that she’s planning to use an idea or a quotation or some element from my reflection in her sermon. Knowing her to be a phenomenal preacher, this touches me deeply. Yesterday’s lectionary post garnered me a comment from a priest I’ve known online for years who thanked me for the reflection and said that she’d picked up some ideas from it for her sermon. From looking at my blog stats, I see that the lectionary posts are the ones that get the most views, the ones that are most often searched for.
What I realized last night is that these lectionary posts have become a ministry for me. I am preaching the gospel, I am preaching the word of God. But the way I’m going about it is not the way that most clergy do. I don’t have three years of seminary training. I don’t have a library of translations and concordances and exegetical resources. I don’t have a license from my bishop to preach, and I am not ordained. But I am giving this time and energy in the service of God. I am allowing scripture to shape my life each week. And I am offering my ideas, my feelings, my thoughts, my words to any who happen by. I suspect, based on the search strings that comein, that most who happen by to read the lectionary posts are clergy, poking around for sermon ideas… and that’s great. I know that it is a tough discipline to craft a meaningful sermon week after week, when you’re already working at least a full-time job. I know that you pour a bit of yourself into each sermon, that you take risks revealing parts of yourself that you might prefer to keep hidden, that you put on a great big target when you don a collar or wear a vestment or step into the pulpit. And yet… it’s worth it to be a conduit for God to work on the people around you.
We had a tough time on our daily development telecon yesterday, and I felt a little bit in the spotlight. There are some changes happening with our software development team, and while I know that these changes are for the best, they are bringing with them a certain amount of upheaval. There was some tension between our manager and us developers, in that he had one goal in mind for yesterday’s call, but we didn’t think that goal was going to work out. And I ended up being the one to tell him things that none of us thought he’d really want to hear. It turned out okay, but it’s never fun to have to tell a person something you know he won’t want to hear.
A person in my office was terminated last week. Of course, we don’t know any details beyond the fact that it was not his choice. We’re still trying to figure out how this is going to affect us, work-wise. I have a conference call to get some crucial data reviewed and approved for my application, and he was one of the key players in this effort, but now he won’t be here. So that kind of stinks. I’m not sure whether we’ll be able to accomplish what I want and need to accomplish, but we’ll see how it goes.
My daily Happy Bunny calendar for today says:
Bite it sideways, pal.
I love how Happy Bunny says the things that sometimes I would LOVE to say, but rarely have the courage to. I have pages from the calendar pretty much wallpapering my cubicle.
Well, that’s enough rambling for this morning. Have a great day, friends!