Holy Spirt or Holy Spirit

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Have you ever felt so tired that you feel like a bug smacked on a windshield, or as flat as a frog run over in the road? That’s how this Friday is hitting me. Its been an emotional week, anxiety then great news about Narcie, charge conferences every night with some tensions and a lot of celebration, phone calls to pastors/churches about their connectional giving, and the usual swinging door cacophony of people who don’t like something about their pastor or something else. I have had consultations all week with clergy and that has been so good. Sharing prayer, support, and visioning for the future – good stuff, but I’m beat. I used to get up in the morning and walk for a hour praying my way to strength for the day. I’m too busy/tired to do it right now.

We’re planning on going to see Narcie, Mike, Enoch & Evy, plus Josh and Karen this afternoon, spend the night coming back to Columbia tomorrow to go to the USC-Furman game with my brother, preach a church anniversary Sunday am followed by 3 charge conferences and a new Hispanic/Latino church start meeting. Whew! When will there be a let-up? So much for Sabbath, but we must have time to reflect and worship or we don’t have anything to offer this hurting world. Every minister that I’ve talked to has shared their fatigue, some with tears, some with excitement tinged with fear of running out of gas. Some have been all smiles. What has made for more smiles than miles? It seems that the clergy who are taking care of themselves through exercise, time off, date nights, or some kind of Sabbath are the ones who are still smiling.

In reading lately about how many more Americans are below the poverty line right now tells me that they need the Gospel’s message of hope now more than ever. If we’re beat or beat-up then we aren’t the voice of hope. They’re going to go to the upbeat church with the upbeat music with the upbeat sermon. If we aren’t full of the Holy Spirit then we won’t have anything to offer. I’m afraid I resemble a Holy Spirt more than Spirit. So, I am running on empty, but ready to relax and recharge. Got to, have to, must get some nourishment from God if I’m going to be an effective witness for Christ. May God’s grace win your heart this weekend and not the tyranny of the urgent. I’m going to start prayer-walking again in the morning.

Carolina Moon Over the Marsh

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It’s got to be a full moon! Just as sure as the full moon makes the tides grow larger, I think they also pull all of our brains a little too far from our brain stem – craziness happens. I resemble that remark. The last 3 days have been 12+ hour days, everything pretty good stuff with the occasional trap or two. The tyranny of the urgent has about robbed me of the best of the last month, but I’m fighting it! A month ago I spent a glorious week by myself on top of Mt. Mitchell, reading novels and papers, getting spiritually ready for teaching at Emory. Then it was two weeks at Emory sleeping in the same sleeping bag I used on Mitchell, except this time I was on a sofa (The mattresses in the dorm were worse). The students were super! I love teaching. If I could teach more I would do it. If I ever happened to be elected to the episcopacy, the teaching office of bishop would be huge for me.
 
Then I dashed to a week of Cabinet Retreat with our Bishop and my colleagues at Palm key in the marshes near Bluffton, SC. It was wonderful and we did good work listening to the Spirit and visioning for the work of the Annual Conference. We went kayaking to build up our sense of community and it was great. Next was our scheduled week at the beach. The grandkids were great!!! Enoch loved the ocean. All I had to do was say, “Beach,” and he started taking his clothes off. It was simply precious. The highlight was a huge rainbow over the ocean that my mind keeps remembering. In the midst of all the crud there’s God’s providence and promise!
 
It’s good to be back in our own bed, and last Sunday began my transition back into the life of a D.S. I preached and observed the Eucharist with a wonderful church at 10 am then held a charge conference to certify a young adult as a candidate for ordained ministry at 12:30; then it was 2:30 that we had a very productive Native American Committee meeting; then it was on the road to do a pottery-sermon on the stages of grace at another church at 6. I made it home after cleaning up at 10:30.
 
The next day didn’t start so good when I noticed our city-supplied trash can missing from the curb. A lady walking by said she saw several turned over on the otherside of the neighborhood. There it was with my clay as proof that it was ours turned over on someone’s lawn. I cleaned it all up and drove my little car with the flashers blinking with my arm out the window pulling the trash bin. It had to have been a sight. I disinfected and came to work. Meetings, Cabinet Retreat minutes, calendar for the Cabinet, and getting ready for our annual set-up meeting tomorrow night has been interpersed with talking to a lot of people, catching up on situations and getting home late. I just finished the Cabinet calendar and tomorrow I tackle the rest of the minutes. In the hectic day tomorrow I do get to meet with a young adult who wants to know how to start in the ministry process. Thank God for the oases of connecting with people. One joy was being with one of our clergy families as they welcomed their new daughter into the world!
 
New birth, new opportunities – keep me going. I may physically feel like the waxing moon in my picture over the marsh, but better days are ahead!