Boxes up to the top of the boxes

June 17, 2014

Reblogged from: That's Life

Boxes upon boxes upon boxes. That's what life has turned to.

But last evening I was reminded of what pastoring is truly about. A dear, gentle man named Russell from one of my small churches had a stroke. He's doing well, as well as one can with this occurrence, but it reminds me and should remind everyone that one is a pastor to the churches one is assigned to up till the moment one is not.

Movement that we call begin itinerant in the United Methodist Church does not pick you up like some Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz and plop one down somewhere else.

Spending time with folks, learning to love them, learning to care for them, means the tendrils that reach deep into the soil of your appointment are literally ripped out of the ground you leave so quickly.

So, what can you do in six days? What can you accomplish as time roars past you so fast you can't even look up in time or you'll miss something, anything, everything? One last hospital visit. One last sermon. One last powerpoint. One last home visit. One last meal with friends.

That's what I'm facing, what all United Methodist ministers who are moving this year are facing. Here, it's the last time at Mr. Gatti's. The last time at Mexican whatever its name. The last time at ....

It never gets easier. It only gets harder as the sun starts to go down on it all.

Henry Knight III said of this thing we call it itineracy, "John and Charles Wesley eventually oversaw a hundred itinerant lay preachers assigned to circuits throughout Great Britain. These were not pastors of local churches, but traveling evangelists who preached both to unbelievers and to Methodist societies. Hence their sermons necessarily called for repentance and receptivity to God's forgiveness, as well as Christian growth in love and other fruit of the spirit. Itinerancy was a missionary strategy.

"Wesley believed that sustained awakening most frequently occurred when preachers traveled. He was convinced that 'were I myself to preach one whole year in one place, I should preach myself and most of my congregation to sleep.' Denying it is the will of God 'that any congregation have one teacher only' he insisted that experience has taught that a frequent change is best."

Besides, look what it does for the U-haul business as well as moving companies all over the country.

Perhaps there was a time when this worked to move every couple years, but I'm not at all certain it still does. I pray I never move again until it's time to sack it up and go to the house, wherever the house might be.

But I also am committed to whatever comes next being whatever comes next. That's the faith journey that all of us must be on, should be on.

See, Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is "confidence in what we hope for an assurance about what we do not see." Therefore, I am confident that within one year Uptown Community-Carrollton will have more than 100 persons per Sunday in one or two services. I am assured that we will preach the Gospel with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength, Sione and I. I am certain that God will be there for us.

That's it. Nuff said.

Now, if I simply knew where the box with my office stuff was, everything would be golden.