It’s interesting how things come together.
Last night, I was feeling a bit disturbed by stuff in my life that’s not going well. While the church I pastor is growing and has great potential, it’s really hard to get people to help with the church’s work. Even little things are hard to find people for. For example, we want to make coffee for people who attend a public showing of The Passion of the Christ, but nobody seems willing to do that… Then there’s the room that we started prepping for painting and can’t seem to get finished. (Of course it has to be a room that people walk through every Sunday!) That stuff starts to frustrate me.
I was also frustrated because we had a heating and air conditioning unit installed in our 60-year-old house last summer. That’s not the frustrating part. The frustrating part is that we still haven’t passed the building permit inspection. The most recent hitch is that there’s a tiny leak somewhere in the gas system. They cap off all of the gas appliances and run the system up to 10 times normal pressure pressure. Then it’s supposed to hold pressure for 15 minutes. Well it doesn’t. The heating and air contractor says it’s not his responsibility. We’re supposed to get a plumber to find and fix the leak, then the heat/air guy will come for the inspection. But it’s hard to find someone to pressurize the system and go hunting for leaks. So the last time the heat/air guy came out, he capped everything off and left. I had to get a crash course in reconnecting gas appliances. I still haven’t reconnected the heater because it’s on the roof. But it’s starting to get cold…
Anyway, church stuff, and various house problems were bugging me.
But today was different. Today I did a funeral for the mother of one of our church members. The woman had died after two days in the hospital. She had a very aggressive infection that may have come from some dental work when had done. She felt sick so she went to the hospital on Friday. Then on Sunday, she was gone.
This morning and afternoon, I got a chance to walk with that family as they dealt with the loss and their own grief and some feelings of regret.
Then tonight, I was complaining to one of our church board members that we can’t get people to volunteer for the stuff that needs to be done… I think it may have made her feel a little down too.
But that was right before the children arrived for our new children’s choir. We had a great group of kids, and they sounded great. Richard March, our music director, is hoping to have one of our middle schoolers play a saxophone solo in one of the Easter songs, and the kids clapped and moved to the beat like real pros. (They even clapped on the off-beat!) And two of the kids were kids who are fairly new to the church too.
Where am I going with all this? The daughters of the woman who died were talking about how losing a family member really puts life into perspective. And I felt the same way when I saw the looks on the faces of the family this morning and when heard those kids singing. That really means something. Seeing the impact that the church is having on people’s lives helps me put problems with coffee into perspective…
The only problem is that it’s really hard to hang onto that perspective. It’s so easy to slip back into old patterns of thought. For me, prayer helps a lot too – when I take enough time to pray! Both perspective-giving events and prayer give me a glimpse of what it would be like to live with a larger perspective, and every time I see it, I want more of it. I’ll keep you posted!