Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Weekend

I thought I'd write a little about my weekend.

I had a wedding on Saturday. Normally, this fact does not thrill me. Many couples treat weddings like big stupid Cinderella cultural events, and thus Getting The Church and Getting The Pastor become just two more items to check off a big stupid Cinderella list, and organizing the wedding party during the rehearsal is like herding deaf, greased-up cats.

I might be exaggerating a little. But sometimes, this is just how weddings feel for pastors.

Anyway, I said normally, this fact does not thrill me. This weekend's wedding was one of the exceptions that I've enjoyed during my ministry. I've become very close with this family over the past year, and really met the bride during somewhat of a chance encounter: she's been undergoing treatments for lung cancer, and her future in-laws asked me to visit her one evening while she was in the hospital. A few months later, I baptized both her and her 9-year-old son, ministered to her after her mother's death, and have continued to support the entire family during a poor prognosis. I was also able to come to know the groom--who hadn't been much for religion or guys like me beforehand--very well.

On Saturday, they got married. For insurance purposes, there was no legal document involved. It was solely in the eyes of God that these two were married, with all the genuine love that they both had in their hearts for one another. The ceremony saw a couple mishaps, but I could tell that these would simply become part of their history together rather than The Ultimate Ruination of The Perfect Day.

Coffeeson came to the wedding, and slept through the whole thing. He slept through the reception, too. They'd ordered two kegs of beer for the reception, which I avoided because 1) it was Bud Light, and 2) I'm trying to stick to my new discipline (5 pounds lost and counting).

The CoffeeInLaws were up for a brief stay this weekend, as they had their own wedding to attend in the area. Between my duties on Saturday and my duties on Sunday morning, I actually didn't see too much of them. But what I did see was good.

Sunday morning was a full day. Our vocal and bell choirs combined to end their musical season with a piece called "Lord, I Stretch My Hand to You." It was a beautiful piece. I recommend it to certain Ohio-dwelling singing and bell-ringing pastors who may be reading this, if they haven't heard of it.

And then I had a baptism. I love baptisms. I love the potential that we celebrate together, the celebration of new life, the prayers and promises made. This little guy was all of four months old, and was a little fussy until the water touched his head. Then he got this wide-eyed look on his face and became very still. As I walked him down the aisle, I told him that we'd pray he'd never lose that look of wonder about the world. And I couldn't help myself: while he was still fussy, I jokingly let it slip out that "you remind me of someone."

That someone had been up half the night with no end in sight. So the Coffeefamily didn't make it to worship that day.

My sermon, by the way, did not feature any sort of "sacred conversation." With it being a baptism Sunday, it didn't feel right layering the UCC-recommended subject matter over top of it. I used Matthew 28:16-20 to tie baptism and the Trinity together, and I said a lot about how the Trinity isn't about trying to solve a math problem, but about three different kinds of experiences of the same God, and then praying that the one baptized has and claims that experience for himself.

Finally, I closed out the program year for the senior highs with our monthly after-worship discussion group. After a strong fall together, spring had hit a few snags due to snowy weather and Coffeeson's arrival, so I wanted to make sure to close out our year properly. I've taken a "Gospel According To..." approach to this discussion time, using movies, TV, and music as jumping-off points for discussion, and this past Sunday I used the Family Guy episode where Peter pretends he's a miracle healer and God visits the plagues on him.

Looking back, I probably won't use Family Guy again. Even though this was a tamer episode, it still had a couple points that made me cringe sitting with our youth. The Simpsons by comparison is much more age-appropriate.

I asked the kids to name all the Ten Commandments, and they did it with little trouble. So how about that?

That was my weekend, more or less. It was a good one.