Monday, April 22, 2013


I've spent a week, now, trying to figure-out how to use this blog to process my reaction to the bombing at the Boston Marathon. So far I haven't had much luck making sense out of non-sense.

As a citizen, I find myself angry,and worried that this might be the "new normal."

As a parent I grieve with those whose children have been killed or maimed. And I wonder how I would respond if it were my child whose face was plastered on CNN.

As a Christian, I am trying to forgive, but it is not easy.

So I find myself praying for peace.  In Philippians 4 we find familiar, challenging words:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding <Conrad paraphrase: doesn't make sense given the circumstances>, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Maybe together we can pray the prayer attributed to Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me so love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pastoral Privilege

My Sunday morning routine is, well, pretty routine. Getting the coffee started, checking thermostats in classrooms, distributing class rolls and setting-out bulletins- mostly making sure we're ready to go when the first people arrive. I've been doing this in some form or fashion for almost thirty years- like I said, it's a routine- in a variety of settings.

As we meet at Lockhart I also make it a habit to check-in on our sound and graphics volunteers. These folks  are in place by 8 a.m. on Sunday morning to make arrangements for the technical aspects of our worship. The Lockhart facility has saved us from the regimen of moving furniture every week (been there, done that!) but our media support team must set-up for each service. I admire and appreciate their commitment, skill, and spirit. Too often we only notice their efforts... when something goes wrong!

Many Sundays I am able to enjoy a cup of coffee as our musicians warm-up and review plans for worship leadership. During the service I am in "on" mode and can't really enjoy these aspects of worship. Overhearing the rehearsal and preparation of instrumentalists, vocalists, and other worship leaders is a valued opportunity to "sit back and soak it in."

Last Sunday I enjoyed a special treat.  As our ensemble was preparing to run through their song, Bonna Lenyszyn came in with six-month old Joseph. She didn't blink when I asked if I could hold him! We settled in to hear the music- Joseph, smiling,cooing, and drooling; me- remembering what it was like when our kids could rest on my shoulder. And then, I could "feel" a smile as Christine Braun toddled our way.  Christine, almost two, is Byron and Caroline's daughter, and comes in to "help" Grandmama Serena Verner on her Sunday mornings to work with worship graphics. Christine cuddled next to me and entertained Joseph with smiles, tickles, and giggles.

I like my Sunday morning routine: enjoying the sharing of service, the gift of music, and the smiles of little ones.  It is indeed a privilege to be called "pastor."