I'm tired. I've been working really hard over these last few weeks! Last week, a close friend of my pastor's son died. Dominic was only 10 years old & he died from complications of leukemia. He died within a day & half of diagnosis. Our church opened its doors to the family & grieving community for the funeral. There were over 500 people in our building last Thursday morning for the service. I was particularly touched by the efforts of LPC people to help out with whatever was needed. They really do know what it means to be church. The service was beautiful & meaningful for those who were in attendance- celebrating the life of a great kid, who died way too soon.
Unfortunately, with all of that happening, we seemed to have lost a week! Lent came on too fast this year. The time between Advent and now went way too quickly. Now, we are getting ready for everything that is happening during this season, not to mention the fact I am headed out of town on Monday night for two weeks! I fly to San Diego, CA on Monday to attend APCE for the week. I am so looking forward to warmer weather, palm trees, and time spent with other Presbyterians! On the 16th, I will fly from CA to Gulfport, MS to meet up with 24 others from LPC. We are spending the week in Mississippi working with the ongoing Katrina relief efforts. I really am looking forward to that week! It will be hard work, but well worth the effort.
On top of it all, I am writing a sermon to preach this Sunday morning. It is the first Sunday of Lent and the text is Jesus' 40 days being tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). I guess it is coming along...or it will be when I spend some time working this afternoon. If you are curious or have free time on your hands, you can read my sermons from my year at LPC at our website: www.laurelpresbyterian.org. Look under the Pastor's Message tab at the top of the page, scroll down to Sermon Archives.
Oh, did I mention that LPC is hosting homeless women in our building at night for these two weeks? Yes, there is a program here in Laurel called Winterhaven. Local churches volunteer during the winter months to host either women or men in our buildings- provide dinner, a warm place to sleep, breakfast and a packed lunch for the next day. It is a wonderful mission of this community. We are averaging 3-4 women each night. Another local church is hosting the men and they are having 25-30 men each night. I will be spending the night at the church tonight with another member. I figure it is the least I can do to help out.
Needless to say, there is a lot happening right now. Not to mention all of the normal stuff- writing liturgy, selecting hymns, attending tons of evening meetings, and producing the weekly enewsletter.
I am tired. Ministry is a full time job and not a 9 to 5. It is full of moments of joy and moments of heartbreak. There is a certain level of uncertainity- you never know what will happen next. I love it, even though I am tired. I love it, despite of the occasional 11 hour work days. I love the people. I love sharing God's good news. I feel blessed to have this opportunity.
Now, if I could just get a little nap....