I ended my Lenten Sunday with a marathon game of Civ IV. Even then, I have tendencies that are part of my character. I prefer the “Diplomatic Victory” over all others. I always decline instituting “Slavery” when the option is presented, and I only go to war when attacked.
I also tend to think positively about church. Then there are times when it all seems akin to oatmeal. I had a sermon prepared, but it wasn’t any good. The roads were relatively good, but many still chose to stay in. The people present were peaceful and relatively attentive, but we all seemed sedated. I can chalk a bit of it up to snow and weather. At the same time, I sometimes feel solely responsible for bringing enthusiasm to worship.
M&I talk about this often: this sense that church is something that people have to do, have to endure. They do it to get into heaven. The understory is that church is a chore, that worship has only utilitarian value, that being around other Christians and worshiping are not worthwhile ends in themselves. This seems sad to me. It is as if people have never actually praised the Lord without an ulterior motive. It seems that joy is one of the hardest gifts to attain. I am still in the hypothesizing phase, but has been my observation that this is much less prevalent in my black church. In one of my white churches, we had a Sunday in which our parking lot was completely snowed in. So we gathered at a local restaurant instead. It was a fun alternative. At one point, one of teh parishioners said ‘We should do this more often…just skip church and go straight to breakfast.’ It was at that point that I had to be pastor. I reminded them of the joy and the unique privilege of worship. I don’t mind having to do that. It is part of the job.
After church, I visited a parishioner. Interestingly, I always feel guilty in between visits, but it always winds up being for not. It was a good visit for which I need not feel guilty.
The Civ game was about doing what I want, being nobody but me. I know that I am always pastor. I know that I am always husband and before long I will always be dad. I relish all of those. But how nice to turn off the brain and the responsibility for a few hours.
1a) Driving the speed limit–Impossible in-between churches. Did okay otherwise. 2:4
1b) Foul Language–Did well, despite some pressures. 3:4
2) Fasting Lunch–Sundays = Wendy’s. 1:4
3) Giving up Facebook–Ok. 4:4
4) Reading–Not as I should…need to make March better. 1:4
5) Something strictly between God and me–First slip. 1:4
6) Visiting Parishioner–Really enjoyed seeing S. 4:4
7) Guitar–Sadly, no. 1:4