I am looking forward to time away beginning next Monday. I’m feeling a little spent at the moment. I was skimming the Presbytery’s weekly newsletter a little while ago and Geneva Center was offering up space to pastors who are feeling a little weary of pastoring during a pandemic. The article said we had been pastoring in this crisis for six months now. I thought, ‘Surely it can’t be that long.’ Turns out it’s almost six months. This has been going on since March!
So I am feeling a little spent and in need of a break. Some of you have been asking if we are getting away this time. The answer is yes. We are headed first up to Crystal Mountain where we have a “free” condo curtesy of some friends. This is where I will do study leave and Mike will be reading in preparation for his Interim Ministry training. I love the week of study leave because it allows me to focus on just one or two things. Usually I’m juggling at least half a dozen balls at once and it is a luxury for me to focus. I always focus on my preaching calendar during August study leave. If I’m successful I’ll come back with preaching texts, sermon series and titles for the next year through next August 2021! Additionally I have a small pile of ministry books to take with me. This is a great time to get some outside perspectives to enrich my ministry approach. After study leave, we have reserved a studio loft north of Harbor Spring, Mi. We will be close to the Lake, near to the Grand Traverse wheel way and the Dark Park near the tip of the mitten. This is a week to kick back, rest and look for God’s presence in the little things.
Looking for God in the little things is one of my favorite past times. I take pictures of small creatures, flora and insects. They remind me of God’s amazing creativity. I take videos of streams flowing or small ponds where I can hear the insects chirping or the waves crashing onto the rocks. This sights and sounds give me God’s peace and I will bring it home with me and play these videos on my computer when I go back to work. I may share some of them with you. In fact I have already done so in worship sometimes.
Jesus took time to rest and renew. Matthew tells us that after a long day ministering to the crowds…. “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” (Matt 14: 22 – 23) Rest and renewal are essential for all of us. I hope in the midst of your daily routine there is time to look for God in the little things. Feel free to send me your discoveries to share just as I share with you. Perhaps we will inspire each other.
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