Just feeling very angry and sad, my dears. I’m taking a break from the internet and TV for a few days. You have a fantastic feast of Thanksgiving. xoxo PB
Posts in category Beautiful Holidays
Hollering for help, ministers and priests and rabbis!
I bet ten bucks some of you are putting together orders of worship for interfaith Thanksgiving services, right? Me, too. We will have representatives from the Unitarian Universalist, Jewish, Muslim, United Church of Christ (Congregationalist), Episcopal, and Spiritualist communities. I have participated in many such services over the years but my own files seem to be curiously bereft of liturgical specimens. Would you be so kind as to share yours or to make recommendations in the comments?
My e-mail address is my real first name dot my real last name @gmail.com. Thanks, loveys!
My blessings for grace, beauty, preparedness, stamina and good humor go with you as you count ‘em down for Mr. Jesus.
Remember the restaurant kitchen worker’s motto: “You have to slow down to speed up.”
DO. NOT. RUSH.
You can’t think when you’re frantic.
You don’t breathe when you’re frantic.
Be calm, take a moment to get your thoughts together and consider your words before you open your mouth. Remember that we never get credit on earth for the spiritual discipline of not TOTALLY LOSING IT, but God sees and God knows. And God knows you’re going to be so glad when you don’t TOTALLY LOSE IT although you’re sorely tempted to let the true opinions fly about what went wrong in the preparations for these many worship services.
It’s a trying time. In your most exhausted moments you want to whine, “Just because God did a miracle over two-thousand years ago doesn’t mean I’m capable of doing a miracle today of keeping my sanity doing four big special worship services in three days!”
Have a smoothie, rub your feet, take a cat nap.
Breathe, and slow down, and take a Q-tip and clear the crusties and smudged mascara from under your eyes. Put your shoulders back, chin up, and get out there.
We’ll have a Whine, Wine and Check-In on the other side of the Resurrection.
Kiss of peace, PB
I am so looking forward to writing a post about how our hair should never match our skin tone, but that is going to have to wait for a bit.
As we approach Holy Week, we have a huge dual responsibility: first and foremost is to be internally prepared for the walk in the sacred story with Jesus so that we can bring the necessary spiritual intensity, focus and depth to our ministry.
Second is to attend to all the programmatic details of worship and fellowship. Lord knows there’s a ton of that. Wake early, breathe deeply, remember to take time to think. You are the one person who must think through and imagine every detail of every event. There are programs to be prepared: don’t miss deadlines and be sure to proofread everything. Is anyone allergic to lilies? Then order daffodils for the sanctuary (this is a page out of my own life, having suffered through too many wheezing and itching Easter mornings. My allergies finally got so bad I feared for my ability to speak. So I spoke up and we shan’t be having Easter lilies this year).
Think through the transitions: not just “and now we wash the particpants’ feet,” but the details. How? Who first? Where does the towel go? You owe it to your deacons to prepare them spiritually and technically.
Are there batteries in the microphones?
Have you dealt with the horrible legacy of anti-Semitism provoked by the Good Friday texts? Please do. As a woman of Jewish heritage whose father had traumatic memories of being mocked and beaten on this day (in mid-20th century suburban Connecticut), and who herself was called a “kike” and “Christ killer” on the schoolbus in 1970′s New Canaan, CT, I can tell you there is still much work to be done in the teaching and exegetical ministry of Holy Week.
Are your suits freshly pressed? Did you fix that one dangling button?
Now is the time for a haircut so it has time to settle down before next week.
Are you getting whiplash yet? Yes, this is the time of year we grapple with the Church’s legacy of anti-Semitism, preach God’s triumph over Empire, enter with full heart and soul into the outrageous gospel of Resurrection, and obsess about lilies. It’s like that. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a BIG RIDE.
You will be greeting twice as many worshipers over the next Sunday mornings than at any other time of year. Meet with staff and volunteers to go over church materials, to freshen your foyer, to shape your message and make sure you put forth your best face to the curious, seeking or hurting. Many who come to the Church this time of year have no beef with us — they just have no knowledge of what we do. Expunge all “insidery” references from announcements and do not assume that everyone knows the difference between the six hymnals and prayerbooks in the pews. Grant extra time for turning to pages. Slow down the liturgy a bit. Don’t feel you need to get all explainy, as that destroys the flow and spirit of the service, and is condescending or boring. Just slow down. Manage the energy more intentionally.
Those who are coming back into a church after an aggrieved absence are not yours to fix or convert. Avoid shallow messages and sarcasm at all costs, and do not make flippant or casual excuses for the sins of the “old church.” Neither should you inflict guilt trips about absenteeism, as I have heard one Catholic priest did in an Easter service that caused one of his faithful members to walk out the door and never return.
You see, bunnies? We have so much to think of, so much to prepare ourselves for. Do what you need to do. Make lists, meet with colleagues to go over them, clear your schedule of extraneous outings or obligations as best you can and go put a bouquet of tulips on your study desk. The mysteries of Holy Week are not ours to create. But they are ours to shepherd and to facilitate.
Prepare well, my sweet pisankis.
Love and a kiss of peace, PB
Happy New Year’s Eve, pigeons! How will you be spending NYE? Get any invitations from parishioners? Those are always complicated, aren’t they? On one hand, you’d love to stop by. On the other hand, you want to be sure to be out of the room by midnight to avoid any weird kissing/champagne-induced loooong hugs that someone might regret in 2014 (and that someone had better not be you!).
I suggest that you thank everyone for their kind invitations, avoid the party scene like the plague, and make some calls on New Year’s Day when everyone is ostensibly sobered up and you can bestow a blessing for the new year. Get a plate of hoppin’ john, eat some cornbread and steer clear of worries about what to wear that’s appropriately clerical and not “Oh my god, who invited the guy in the collar to our NYE blow-out?”
Many moons ago when PeaceBang was just a wee young minister she heard a slightly soused church leader at a woman’s gathering confess that she invited the senior pastor to her New Year’s Eve gatherings in the hopes of just “happening” to be strategically placed next to him at midnight so she could lay a big juicy smooch on him.
It was at this same party, where the gals threw back glass after glass of wine and PeaceBang sat quietly nursing a club soda that the talk turned to sex (of course), and when PB set her face into an expression we might dub “Friendly and Supportive Therapist” and kept her mouth well shut, one of the gals eventually turned to her and giggled, “Why so quiet, Vicki? ARE YOU A VIRGIN??” There was much tittering.
I smiled enigmatically while thinking to myself, “Aw mah gah. I love these women but get me out of here.”
It was one of the most eye-opening moments of my new life as a minister. I was astonished that, even into a fourth or fifth glass of wine, any educated modern woman would say that to me. It made me realize how truly Other clergy are, even within liberal faith communities.
The point is, pidgies, I make it a general rule to avoid social situations that are bound to be boozey. I don’t need to overhear any more confessions about lay people trying to catch their pastor in a clinch or to be subjected to any more slurring inquiries about my sexual history. Stay off the icy roads, and avoid accidents both automotive and social!
A clink of my glass of chilled prosecco to your libation of choice at midnight, loveys! Here’s to you and yours! Here’s to all of us and all of ours!