I spent some time at New Church this morning, meeting with the secretary, meeting one of the member-volunteeers, meeting the day care staff, meeting the morning exercise class, and poking around a bit. My office is in the process of receiving a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting, so there's nothing I can do about that space yet other than to imagine making it my own.
I drove down the main street, checking my odometer: exactly half a mile to the nearest small lakefront park where I can walk a short distance along the water.
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about Almost Former Church and . . .
what I know now that I wish I had known then ~
what I didn't do and say that I wish I had done and said ~
what I did do and say that I wish I hadn't ~
what I have appreciated and what I have overlooked ~
what on earth I've been doing and what it could possibly be that God has been doing.
I haven't yet gotten to the point at which I can think clearly in terms of the future. There is a lot from the past two years through which to sift first.
But here's an intriguing thing. We have a small Bible study one night a week. One of the women who comes is the sister of two of the other women; they belong to our church, but she doesn't, and I've never seen her at any other church event. She is very much a country woman, with the difficult family background and conservative outlook so typical of the area in which my church is located. She's often quite articulate, and thinks deeply about what we are discussing, but I've had no idea, really, what it's meant to her to come each week.
When I arrived the other night, she was the first one to speak, and what she said was, "I'm going to miss you. You have awakened in me a spirituality that had been slumbering for far too long."
As I said, I had no idea.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Pastor.