I am not preaching this coming Sunday. While I love preaching, I always look forward to the Sundays I am not in the pulpit. A big reason for this is because I get to listen to our Associate Pastor proclaim the good news. And Rachel is excellent. The other reason I look forward to my non-preaching weeks is because I always think to myself, “This is the week I will get caught up on…or finally get to…”
But it never works out that way. Sure I don’t have to get the bulletin in order, pick hymns, and come up with something to say for Sunday, but the work of ministry quickly fills those empty spots on my plate. In fact, just yesterday I was in meetings basically all day discussing everything from long-range planning to building use and a whole lot in between before I went to make a visit at the hospital.
So I didn’t get to catch up in my book reading or do some planning (although I might get to do these things later this afternoon). But I did get to engage in ministry in a much needed way this week and was freed up to do so with out feeling too much stress.
The gospels seem to have a lot to do with call and “follow me” accounts this month. It’s a good reminder for me that my call can–and does–look different day to day and week to week. And if I am faithful in it, then I realize that in many ways I am not in control or the one who sets my calendar. The Spirit has a lot to do with that. It also reminds me that in following Jesus there are very few slow or easy weeks. The work of Kingdom building continues whether I am in the pulpit or not.
There is a hymn in our denominational hymnal, “Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore.”It is a calling hymn listed under the heading “Life In Christ.” The hymn speaks to the call of the fishermen who were called to “leave their nets and to fish for people.”In many ways their vocation was the same–to fish. Only now it looks a little different. Of course later in the gospels, after the events of Holy Week, many of them go back to fishing for actual fish for a time. Part of the Hymn’s refrain has the line, “Now with you I will seek other seas.”
I’m reminded that God’s call often calls us away from the “same old, same old” into new things and in new directions, some other seas. Maybe that is why we say that the Spirit falls afresh on us, because it is always doing something new, something different, something fresh…even if only for a week (or day) before returning to the usual rhythm. I’m also reminded that seeking other seas does not always mean moving across the country or changing jobs. It might just mean taking the bold risk of trying something new in the community and context already called “home.”
One thing I did get to do this week was look ahead some to the lectionary readings for next Sunday. I’m preaching on a text with an exorcism. What do I do with that?!?! Good thing I’ve got some time to think about it.