Dear God,

   I worry a lot with a mix of insecurity.  I’ll call them “worricurities”.

   I try not to worry or feel insecure, but it happens anyway.  To be certain, I try not to show it.  The last thing a person needs to see is a pastor who appears worried or insecure.  That might be akin to a paramedic showing up in the ambulance and looking as if they’re uncertain about what needle to stick in your arm.  “Thank you, but I’ll wait for the next paramedic.”

   Rev. Megan Vaughn and I were talking about pastoral “worricurities”.  I suggested that she should write a book: “The Insecurities of Ministry”.  She turned that around and said that since I’d be retiring I should do it.   I told her I’d think about it, but was worried I wouldn’t do a good job: and besides, no one would read it.  Bingo!  Worricurities!

   This time of COVID-19 (the 19, by the way, refers to the year COVID appeared) has only added to and amplified the issues I have.  Let me give you a short list of the worricurities I have in this difficult time:

1) Will people return to church when we reopen?

       Some people will still be wary about coming to group settings

       Some will have lost interest in church

       Some will just have gotten comfortable sitting in their underwear and reading the Sunday paper

2) What about financial issues for the church?

       Will people give to meet the needs of a continuing budget?

       How do we have a Stewardship program in the Fall if people aren’t in church?

       Based on the first section, will people stop giving to church through non-involvement?

3) How do we do Sunday School?

       Our Sunday School was small to begin with

       Will COVID keep kids from Sunday School, just like regular school?

        After a 6 month hiatus will parents forget their conviction for Sunday School?

4) What do we do about Worship?

       We won’t be hugging and having coffee any time soon

       How do we do church in face masks and socially distanced?

       Our church experience is heavily based on personal contact and spontaneity, what will happen now?

       How do we drum-up enthusiasm when people aren’t close together and behind masks?

   Is that a big enough list, Lord? 

   But then I turn to the scripture you’ve given to us in times of worry:      

   “And why do you worry about clothes?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap, but your heavenly father cares for them.  Are you not of more value than they.  Do you think that by worrying you can add one second, one moment, one hour to your span of life?  So seek first the Kingdom of God, and all things will be taken care of.”

   Letting go of the things I cannot control means trusting you.  I trust that this church has been here for 182-years, and that you have a great purpose for us in the years to come.  In fact, that purpose is being lived out every day…even when we don’t see it with our eyes.  There are things our church family should be learning even in our time of dispersion, Lord. 

   We will need your inspiration and our commitment to thrive through this difficult moment in our world’s history, Lord, so inspire us, I pray, so we may continue to do all we can to keep this church vital to the life and ministry of Jesus in our Stateline area. 

   Thanks for listening.  I love you.     Dan

Pastoral Pondering August 2020