Once upon a Saturday night


Tonight sees the end of a long week and it seems somewhat fitting that we lose an hour of time. Feels like in some ways I've been losing ground all week.

Tonight some of our families are in a better place than they were a week ago, and some of our families are in a much worse place. So tonight I'm still praying, just redirecting the targets of the prayers. This week I finally counted the number of people who are in some way, connected with Malmo and I got to about 250. I think I'm starting to realise that with those sorts of numbers there's always going to be something difficult happening somewhere.

This week a good friend died. His funeral will be on Monday and I'll be there. Feels like it happened a month ago already. Another friends wife passed away the same day. So much loss.

Last Sunday in church I talked about transparency and reflecting Jesus in our lives and I probably should have been ready to be tested in that area, but I wasn't. I was blindsided pretty good and a full storm bore down and tried to make me feel like I shouldn't be as transparent or caring as I try to be. That sort of thing has been happening to pastors down through the ages, even as far back as Paul. So it's to be expected. It just takes the wind out of the sails. You have to deal with it and keep choosing life and truth and keep choosing to care, because that's the only way forward.

... and then it's Saturday.

Saturday night after a long week.
Saturday night and I am praying, for you and more specifically for my kids.

They are all doing pretty well in their lives, very encouraging and challenging to me. They do make me smile. The good news in a week of challenges came from one of them. It seems I'm going to be a papa again.

After a week like this, that keeps a grin on my face.

Remember to move your clocks forward tonight, and get over to your local church in the morning.

Night

4 comments:

  1. Well, congrats to Johanna and Nate, since you're happy instead of being concerned, so we know it's not one of the others. :-)

    Sorry you guys are having such a tough time, although that seems to be a part of the 'gift' of church leadership. I read this passage this moring, but didn't use it in the meeting as I thought might happen - instead I think it was intended for you guys:

    1 Peter 1
    3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a hope that is alive. It is alive because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. 4 He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to him. It is a gift that can never be destroyed. It can never spoil or even fade away. It is kept in heaven for you. 5 Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power. Your salvation is going to be completed. It is ready to be shown to you in the last days.

    6 Because you know this, you have great joy. You have joy even though you may have had to suffer for a little while. You may have had to suffer sadness in all kinds of trouble.

    7 Your troubles have come in order to prove that your faith is real. It is worth more than gold. Gold can pass away even though fire has made it pure. Your faith is meant to bring praise, honor and glory to God. That will happen when Jesus Christ returns.

    8 Even though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, you believe in him. You are filled with a glorious joy that can’t be put into words. 9 You are receiving the salvation of your souls. It is the result of your faith.

    God bless you both.

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  2. Ah thats a good one Toni. Thanks for that medicine today.

    Often there is a disconnect for me from the struggles of the biblical writers as they speak of their challenges and oppositions to the work. I feel like I live in such a different time that I can't know their sufferings. But this week was good as I connected with their struggles in a real way. They walked these things out and here I am doing the same. Thank you God.

    The word you bring to me today continues to bring grace to me.

    Thanks Toni.

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  3. Earlier in January, I led worship and shared with the congregation the false sense of hope when we wish each other "HEALTH AND HAPPINESS ALL THROUGH THE NEW YEAR!" I simply wanted to comment on the fact that health and happiness don't tend to be ours through the whole year, that, at some point during the year, we will face challenges, illness, death, difficult situations. Then later on in January, I shared about Moses approaching Mount Sinai and how the mountains trembled and the thunder crashed....all a display of God's power and glory. I said to the congregation that I prefer God to come in a whisper, but sometimes He comes real to us in loud noisy ways that shake our very earth.

    THEN, Feb. 1 we had a tragic, tragic death in our family. Kid #1 got sick. Kid #2 got SO sick that he was one step away from the hospital. And I hit an all time mental low.

    So, I know what you mean about stepping out and being vulnerable in front of your people. I'd like to take my words back, sort of....but maybe my words, meant to encourage/challenge our congregation, were meant to prepare ME more than anyone else. i've really wrestled with that ever since.

    While dealing with the initial pain of my cousin's death, I had a long talk with my mom and told her that in my line of work at the nursing home, we deal with death SO much. We prepare the person, their family, intervene medically, intervene emotionally, intervene spiritually - grief is SO prevalent, but we, as nurses, manage our grief by putting our heads down, getting the job done, serving the person WELL until they finally pass away. This time it was my turn to grieve and my initial grief was so heavy I could hardly bear it. I couldn't help myself and, this time, I couldn't put my grief on the shelf and channel it through service to anyone. I had to grieve myself. Wow, it ran deep, still does. I imagine pastors process some of that much the same. Your role in end of life care is similar to ours, you are tough, strong....but grieve as well. Sometimes the weight of it all, the sorrow, is extraordinarily heavy.

    Anyway, not sure if I stayed true to the topic here. Just had to pop in and share. I am glad you are "real".

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  4. Hi Maureen,

    Yeah, it's been a tough long winter for you guys. Lots of pain and like you say, personal loss.

    It is a bit of a privilege, at least for me it is, to walk with people through their last days and weeks and to help make that process a gracious one. I would process my own grief in similar ways as you do, by engaging more and helping them more.

    This having a friend pass away is a whole different thing.

    Finally by Thursday night Lauralea was at a ladies meeting so I was home alone and popped in the movie "Wit" and had a couple hours of tears. I've never done that before but it helped me process a bit.

    As you well know by now, working with people can be all sorts of tricky. But I'm so glad you guys are there.

    Thanks Maureen.

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