Tag Archives: pastors

Is This War?

Sometimes I think we are at war. At war with the environment. At war with each other. At war with other countries. At war with whoever disagrees with us. At war with those who are different…even with those in our own families.

Yesterday, we all got word of another mass shooting, in another place where people are supposed to be free and safe. Shortly after that, the predictable war of words started because no one can agree on what to do. People immediately started criticizing one another about Why This is Happening Again. Someone even lashed out at the fact that someone else invoked prayer because “if prayer helped, people wouldn’t be shot in worship.”

All I know is it feels like more than any one of us can bear. It is too much. It is wrong. We are wrong. Nothing we are currently doing is working. Tearing one another apart is certainly not working either.

This Texas church shooting hits home for me because I’ve served the last 30 years as a pastor in a variety of churches in Texas. In the last decade or so, I sat in on meetings where we talked about what to do if this kind of unthinkable violence happened during worship. The sad truth was that no amount of security would help because churches are such open and welcoming places, filled with all kinds of people with all kinds of issues. Our doors, lots of them are open. I believe the same could be said of concerts, sporting events, parks…well, everywhere.

One expert said, “The best thing I can tell you as a pastor on the platform is to hold up a Bible or a hymnal and maybe you can deflect a shot…and then run.” I remember thinking, “I’m pretty sure I could not deflect a shot nor would I run from my people if that was happening. Never.”

I can’t even find words. I’m writing today to say, I can’t even find words.

In Isaiah, there is a glimpse of how it might be without war and it has to do with living more into the way we were created. As a person of faith, I still believe in that vision…where God’s reality includes no war. Swords, spears and even guns, vehicles and other things that destroy us turn into shovels, plows and hoes…tools for growing things and feeding people. Isaiah 2:4

God, today, I have no words. Can you please help us stop these wars? We cannot do it on our own.

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Crunch Time

Holy week is crunch time for pastors.  Crunch time is defined as a critical period of time during which it is necessary to work hard and fast.  I don’t know why I count up such things but at our place, Holy Week equals 16 worship services, 2 egg hunts, baptisms, a lot of communion and some foot washing.

Then, of course the peak times for Christianity also parallel peak family times for meals, celebrations and gifts.  I’ve often wondered what CPAs would do if their crunch time, tax day, also had big dinners, egg hunts and festivities attached.

Being a pastor and a mom has accelerated the challenges for me during crunch time. Our three kids took it in stride all these years that the Easter bunny miraculously stopped at our house on the Saturday evening before Easter.  They believed they were the first stop because the Easter bunny liked them best and not because mom had to be at sunrise services the next day.  We won’t even discuss the time my husband brought our daughter to church with her Easter dress on backwards because I wasn’t home to guide that process.

Now that they are older, thankfully, the celebrations are simplified. One egg with substantial cash in it plus a few Reece’s Easter Eggs seems to satisfy just fine.  Our Easter meal, too, has become easier, a low-key, easy-to-prepare event that leads to a great Sunday nap after all the worshipping of the week.

But, what I love about crunch time is that God still finds a way. In spite of the sheer volume of it all, God shines through a song, a story or an interaction to bring wonder and resurrection, even to the pastor.

This year, it happened fast, at the 2nd worship service of the 16 of crunch time week.  I saw a little girl, born a few years ago; fragile, diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome and heart problems. Dressed for spring, adorable with her long blonde hair and little pink eyeglasses, joining the other children in the Palm Sunday parade.  A precious one, with a palm branch, proclaiming new life, God’s grace, hope and joy.

God is good, all the time, even in our busyness, distraction and tendencies to do too much. I can’t wait to see the other ways God will shine in this crunch time week.