Luke 9:51-62Â – The 6th Sunday of Ordinary Time â€“ for Sunday, June 30, 2013
â€œAs they were going along the road, someone said to him, â€˜I will follow you wherever you goâ€¦â€™â€ (Luke 9:57)
In 2007, when I left the church Iâ€™d served for nearly nine years, I usually mentioned two reasons for waving “good-bye.”
First, I was spending less and less time with my wife.
Yes, we loved and supported each other. In a typical year, we took vacations, worked on home and yard projects and regularly shared about the dayâ€™s events. But an average week meant I was gone for three, four and even more nights in a rowâ€”gotta love church meetings! Funerals or weddings occupied many Saturdays. Sundays, which felt like they arrived every other day, saw me depart early and return late to either collapse into a loooong nap or prepare for the next commitment. My wife teaches and so Christmas and Easter were her winter and spring breaks. Not me . . . O Little Town of Bethlehem, Christ is Risen Today!
Paul Dirdak, a clergy colleague in my California-Nevada United Methodist region, once told a curious layperson how busy his day had been. Paul listed the sermons heâ€™d preached, the amount of travel time between multiple meetings at different locations, the phone calls made and received and so forth.
When Paul took a breath, the layperson said, â€œWell, young fella, I guess Jesus is gettingâ€™ a good deal with you today.â€
Yeah . . . sometimes it seemed like Jesus always got a good deal with my time, energy, commitment, faith; my day-to-day, week-to-week, Advent-to-Easter-to-Advent world.
Writing was the second reason for my fond farewell.
The seventy plus hours of weekly work consumed all available time for writing. Though I may forever be a pre-published, post-pubescent novelist, I want and need to write. I believe filling in a blank computer screen with sentences represents part of my call to sharing the good news. For the sake of argument, letâ€™s say writing is like a favorite dessert at the church potluck. Church had become a herd of hungry kids just ahead of me in the serving line. By the time I arrived at the desserts section, the homemade cookies and fresh apple cobbler had vanished into teenaged tummies. All that remained was a fork-poked slice of store-bought coconut crÃ¨me pie. I canâ€™t stand coconut.
There was a third reason for limping away from full-time church. I donâ€™t often mention it; itâ€™s mostly kept in my soulâ€™s secret place. Continue reading →