Carol Howard Merritt wrote a beautiful piece a few weeks ago about the great things about being a pastor. It got me thinking about the unlikely combination of intimacy, stress, holiness and chaos that is ministry. The following activities witness to the ordinary glory of a single day in the life of this pastor. One day last week I . . .
- . . . held a baby in a baptismal conference. Her big eyes (and pierced ears!) enchanted me as her parents told the stories of their baptisms and as I shared about the sacrament of belonging, promise making and irresistible grace.
- . . . watched session members weep for love of the people they serve. Seeing faithful people overcome with passion and compassion never ceases to amaze me.
- . . . attended a “Men’s Fellowship Breakfast” with my two sons. At eight and six, they are already well-versed in the universal language of men’s gatherings—discussions of the weather.
- . . . spent an hour folding, labeling and stuffing envelopes for a church mailing. Chatting with office staff and volunteers while doing mindless but important work was an unexpected blessing.
- . . . took a guided tour of the church’s janitor’s closets and storages spaces. There is more stuff in this building than we know what to do with.
- . . . prayed with someone who is finishing a long journey of rehabilitation. I am frequently inspired by those who work so hard to find the right balance between tenacity and patience in their healing process.
- . . . read a book that I would never have picked up without a recommendation from a parishioner. Serving among people who see things differently than I do makes my world bigger.
- . . . re-read an article about what an awesome job I have. (Thanks, Carol.)
- . . . received an unexpected visit from a man who was invited to attend our church over 40 years ago and who traces his journey of discipleship to that invitation. He now serves as a Licensed Local Pastor in the United Methodist Church.
- . . . put off finishing a sermon by blogging for the Presbyterian Outlook.
It was a full, joyful and tiring day. I join Carol in loving this work and I can’t wait to see what this week brings.
Scott Hauser is Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church in Clarion, Pennsylvania.