(Job Before God)
I have spent most of this day in a futile attempt to write my sermon for Sunday. I have read, reflected, prayed, pondered, taken notes, thought I had an idea (once or twice) then changed my mind. I even fell asleep. (Sometimes ideas, direction, solutions come to me in my sleep). But alas. Nothing. Of course it doesn't help that we have torrential rain and severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings all around. Even sirens going off (not in my area, but I hear them off in the distance). None of my family is home. Son went to a friends after school. Daughter is at the barn working. Husband at the office. It's me and the dogs, the cats and the bird, and the flickering lights.
So, I think I am relatively safe from the worst of the storm which is traveling well south or north, I'm in the middle with just wind and rain. (back now 20 minutes later...the uh, wind got really bad, almost lost power a few times and wondered about the trees, thought for sure one of the was going to break in half and land on the house...) Now, all is settling down...so, I'm going to play a game. I've been tagged by revdrkate. The rules are:
1.You have to use your own belief system for the meme. No fair using someone else’s to make a joke or satire. Being humorous about your own religion is encouraged!
2.You have to have at least one joy and one trial. More are encouraged. And no, they don’t have to be equal in length, but please be honest.
3.You have to tag at least one other person. More are appreciated!
4.Please post these rules!
One Joy: This is actually difficult. I haven't had much joy lately. Definitely not much joy regarding my faith life. I'm in a Jobian time, I think. The joy I have felt is coming from a couple of newcomers to the parish who are jumping in getting very active. One is making our flowers for Sunday mornings. Here is a sample of the floral arrangement she made for the funeral I had last weekend: . We always have a floral arrangement around our Paschal Candle for Easter, Christmas, other major feast days, weddings, and funeral. It's lovely, don't you think?
The other parishioner is joining our choir and comes with twenty years of experience. So, I hope she can bring us some new energy.
I continue to find joy in my little parish. It is a joy mixed with frustration, but a joy nonetheless. I am able to be really creative and explore liturgy in many ways and they go right along with it, liking much of what we do. Of course I always say, "We're just trying this. If we don't like we won't do it again." And, I often ask them in the service and one on one what they think of what ever we do. I hope they feel like they are given a voice. As a worship committee of one I rarely have a chance to create with others, so I try to invite folks in this way.
A third joy is my denomination. Even with all its flaws, struggles, and failures, I a find so much joy in being an Episcopal priest. Of all the potential directions my life might have gone in I am glad it went this way. Thanks to the woman minister who married my husband and me and who suggested we try the Episcopal Church, even though she was UCC. (We were married in THE HIP UCC church in town, drawn to it because it was very diverse).
Trials: Well, like I said, I feel as if I am in a Jobian state. Not much is actually going well in my life. And that leaves me wondering where God is. I feel abandoned by God, prayers feel so futile I've given up altogether. (OK, as is clear from a previous post, I still pray
just not in an orthodox way).
As I've also said before, much of my stress is financial, personal and parish. It is really scary to be on the financial brink in one's personal life and professional life. So, in that regard I am not exactly like Job. I haven't lost everything, yet.
But I feel like Job because it seems all I can do is sit here and wonder where God is. I am impotent to really change any of the dynamics at work here. I've tried, to no avail. I mean I am not just being passive and pouty. I am being resolute: OK God, I'm in your hands. Or as someone recently said: God, move that rock.
Not a terrible fun game to play, if one is honest. My faith, my feelings about religion and God are truly being tested. I have a difficult time preparing for Sunday morning, proclaiming the Good News when I don't feel it in my own life.
I've never lost hope before. But I have now. Isn't that weird? Have you ever lost all hope?
Ok. Now that I've said all of this. Please realize that I am plodding on. I get up every day and exercise and live and work and take care of myself and others. So. I realize that this is just a season of my life. It too will pass...eventually. I'm just not sure who I'll be when it does...