This is the week of the my big fat Greek test, ( bad humor I know). I also have a take home test for Early Church and Creeds, and my CPE application is due. And I know that mountains figure extensively in the Old Testament but could the mountain of reading be a little less lofty? Just asking...And a book review for Homiletics
(might be nice if I read the book soon). And our hometown football team is undefeated for the first time in 50 years- GO BEARS! We are division leaders, which means many more band chaperone events for Mom. LC#1 is bringing home the real to life baby that cries and needs cared for ( this is a child development class project not a living addition to the household), and we are continuing to tutor the Spanish for LC#2. We are helping our spare teen get caught up in confirmation and will be preparing for her baptism. And I need to put together and get approved my multicultural project for J-term. David mentioned a "spin cycle" - I think "cyclone" may be it.
Gannet Girl posted an article where the author suggests that God tests us and uses testing to mold us. I am not so sure that God purposely tests us, but I am sure that a life fully lived does. I am at seminary, and all that that means because of my decision to listen to God calling. I opted to commute ( thus adding another "thing" to the mix). We could have ignored our spare teen's plight ( after all plenty of other people do- she was with our family from 7:50 am to 8:30 pm yesterday and her mom never called). I could be like many other parents and just watch the football game and let "someone" else worry about the kids in the band. I could push off the multicultural requirement until "later." I could decide that instead of worrying about grades, I could sing "P is for Pastor, that's good enough for me" ( this is to the tune of "C is for Cookie" from Sesame Street for those who know).
SO when I am in the cyclone, I can see that alot of my experience is because of my own decisions. But I can also see that God is there, uplifting me, giving me strength and patience, and loving me even when I do not do so well- whether that is after I tried to do well or whether I was just lazy.
And I could choose to walk away from almost any of these things that I am trying to keep simultaneously spinning. So what keeps me spinning anyway? Love.
This past week, as I have briefly alluded, was not the greatest. And this was mainly true in spite of my own efforts. When my supervising pastor responded in anger and frustration to news that I am not to be expected in my teaching parish weekly, she was frustrated because planning has already occurred that might need to be revisited. She probably really wanted to be angry at the professors. But I was the one who was there.
So I waited a couple of days and then followed up to tell her that I was not asking to change any of what we had planned, that I was looking forward to it, so let's keep doing what we planned. Encouraged her that all could be as we had discussed. I had already said this before, but in her frustration, she had just not heard it. We got through it. It is love for God's people and God's church that makes me come back and try again.
It's about love for my teaching parish congregation too. Singing with the four older ladies, although there is a possibility of a guy or two. And talking about low sodium diets, who is having tests run, and whether anyone has tried the new Grange cookbook out.
It is love for my children that makes me fit in more than might seem possible. It is love for my family that makes me commute everyday even when just staying over might be easier if the equation was only about me.
It is love for the stranger, the left behind, the cast aside that has led our family to scoop up the spare teen who is making a stronger statement of faith than any of us by standing in spite of parents who will not be coming to her baptism, but it's OK for her to get baptised "is that's what she wants."
But no matter how much love I, or anyone else can have, we can never match the unending love of our God. No matter how articulate we are, we can only offer a glimpse of the love that compels us to minister to those in our midst through word, deed and sacrament. We can only scratch the surface of seeing the grace, mercy and forgiveness offered to us.
When people act in ways that are painful or challenging, I try to remember first to see Christ in that person. We are all equally beloved children of God, even though it may be hard to see in them or in ourselves. And the things we do in love will test and challenge us, but we will never be alone, because of the greatest love.