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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Talk About Your Four Days

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My vocation is in the habit of placing its practioners in situations they are ill-equipped to navigate. I have written before of things like school board hearings, but today wraps up a four-day stretch as yet unmatched in my time as a [fill in the blank] of the church.

Here's the recap:

Saturday: Officiate a Quineanera. The Quinceanera herself attended our church's preschool when she was a girl, so her mother asked if the church, as it had done for her eldest daughter nine years ago, would host the explicitly religious portion of the event. Gladly. Of course, I'd never even heard of a Quinceanera before this, let alone seen one, let alone officiate one. It was a brief service, patterned mostly after the Presbyterian Reaffirmation of Baptism service, with some elements of a wedding service thrown in for effect. My text was I Corinthians 13 (no not that part): "When I was a child . . . but when I became an adult." It seemed fitting, given that the occasion is a sort of rite-of-passage celebrating a girl's 15th birthday. All went as well as could be expected, given the fact that the proceedings involved 31 adolescents in formal wear who arrived in two stretch Hummer limousines, one of whom exclaimed at one point, "What service? You mean, like, there's a pastor?"

Sunday: Lead Lord's Day worship. Nothing out of the ordinary here, except that the person who normally handles the sound and the lights in the sanctuary was at the hospital with his father-in-law. So the microphones weren't working and some of the lights never got turned on. On top of that, the sanctuary drapes remained closed the whole time, leading to a nagging question throughout worship: "Why does it feel so dark in here?" But there was good news amidst the darkness. A young woman and her baby were our guests. Having driven by the church several times and seen the sign, she decided to join us. In a congregation our size, you notice. Which is good.

Monday: Officiate a funeral for a woman I met once. She lived in a group home for adults with developmental disabilities, and her housemate has recently begun to worship with us Sundays (more good news). I met her about a month ago when I visited him in their home. On Sunday her housemate told us that she had passed away; that afternoon, the staff of the group home called me and asked if I would officiate the funeral. I was glad to do it.

Today: Officiate the graveside service for the same person and her family (in the rain). Then visit our sound and light guy's father-in-law in the hospital, taking my new British friend along with me. Then moderate a meeting of the presbytery's Commitee on Preparation for Ministry, where we will examine a candidate for ordination's readiness to receive a call to ministry. It's my first exam like this, and it involves someone who was one of my best friends in college, someone I used to gulp coffee and Sprite with while playing Mario Kart; now I'm moderating his examination for ordination-readiness. I gotta say, I didn't see that one coming.

God is good. This work is good. The challenge is to stay attuned to the still small voice in the midst of the storms that the work involve.

Gloria Dei.


posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 6:28 AM


Amen, brother. thanks for all you do. Senior High Johnsonburg retreat is this weekend...looking forward to slowing down to listen.
commented by Anonymous E Dub, 10:20 AM  

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