From The Pastor At St. Paul's UCC, Freeburg, IL

Whew!

It’s four days after Easter, and I feel like I’m able to get up off the floor about now. What a season it’s been!

  • a wonderful Lenten Wednesday night series on Battling Unbelief (thank you John Piper!); restful and devotional evening services took some extra preparation;
  • fully-loaded Holy Week, including an intense Good Friday service. A highlight: Ruth (one of our cantors & organists) takes the black cloth from the cross, cradles it in her arms like a baby, and sings “Still Still Still” after a reading about Jesus’ body being given to his mother. Wow! Holy Week itself means 9 different services in 8 days (2 Sunday morning services, Confirmation, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Sunrise Service, 2 Sunday morning services). Add one funeral this year to make it 10 in 8 days. OTOH the Easter services featured a fine choral cantata so I didn’t have to preach.
  • family visiting early in Holy Week – my sister in law & her two kiddies from Minneapolis; my son, d-in-law and g’son from Dallas – see pix below – lots of fun but wish I’d had more time to spend with the family!
  • the longest run of funerals I’ve had in 25 years – 8 deaths, 7 funerals in 8 weeks, the last one just last Wednesday after Easter.

So what do I learn from this?

  • I absolutely cannot do this on my own. My appreciation of my teammates & partners has grown, and the awareness of how much I depend on the Spirit has deepened
  • The world could kill me any time it wanted to, if not for the restraining hand of God
  • There’s a fine line between “weeping with those who weep” and getting paralyzed by grief. Sometimes you just have to get the job done, and God can work thru that just as well as when I do lots of sensitive preparation
  • I love the church
  • My family pays a price for that; I’m paid for it, they’re not
  • Our congregation has been INCREDIBLY blessed with musicians, and what a difference that makes in worship!
  • It’s possible, in this life, to have a little too much Easter!

So Easter blessings, friends! May it go easy on you 🙂

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