I just realized that I didn't blog this week. I didn't preach, so I didn't have any sermon scraps to share with you. So what to blog about . . .
Well, as a description to this blog, I wrote that these were the "ramblings of a young pastor living into her call." So I thought I might ramble a bit today. Yesterday I had a wonderful sacred moment. I was in the sanctuary of the Bend church, playing with Julie. On Mondays I bring Julie to work with me. There are several reasons why, but mostly, because I often visit with Don and Charlie on Monday afternoons, and they love having her over (I'm also invited, but they really love her). I have noticed that Julie doesn't let me work for too long. I have a tendency to sit at my computer and write or research, or do whatever I'm doing, and not look up for a while. At Ministers' week at Perkins last year, Dr. Miles told us we are not made for long-term intense focus (like the focus needed for hunting). Instead, we are supposed to give that kind of focus for short periods , and then take breaks. Julie makes me take a break every so often, either a small one to throw her ball, or a longer one to take her outside.
Yesterday, I was sitting along the chancel rail playing fetch with Julie. It occurred to me that some in my congregation would think it wrong to play fetch with my baby in the sancutary of their church building. They might believe I was acting irreverently, that this kind of activitity was not right in such a holy place. Then I began thinking about Br. Mark Stamm, and the Blessing of Opening day service we had a Perkins Chapel in my last year at Perkins. There were those who asked, "a whole service to celebrate opening day . . . of the baseball season. . . really?" I may have been one of those people. Dr. Stamm reminded us that baseball is 'America's Past-time." He asked why God wouldn't want to bless something that our nation seems to enjoy. He asked, if this activity is so "secular," that God would not bless it, should we be doing it? And of course, we came the conclusion that God could and would bless baseball. Isn't there something biblical about recreation and rest?
As I sat throwing the squeeky tennis ball around the sancuary, I could see that Julie really (I mean REALLY) enjoys fetch. The sanctuary at the Bend Church is a great place for fetch. Occassionally the ball will bounce off of one of the pew backs (or corners or arms, etc.) and jet off in a completely unexpected direction, giving my little dachshund the perfect opportunity to use her hunting genes. Yesterday, as I sat the cushions at the chancel rail and watched Julie run back to search for her ball and bring it to me, with her tail wagging, I knew she was having the time of her life. I knew this was a sacred moment for her. She was doing what she loved, and she had her mama's full attention. As I sat and watched her, and threw the ball around, I loved watching her having so much fun. I wondered if this was anything like the joy God feels when we are joyful. I believe God desires our joy. Jesus said that he came so that we may have life and have it abundantly. Abundant life means that we are who God created us to be, or at least on our way to being what God wanted to us to be. God created us for joy. In those moments when we experience abundant life, I believe God experiences it with us -- that our joy mirrors God's joy. Yesterday was one of those moments for me.