"…As Christ Loved the Church…"

I’m pretty grumpy tonight.

My softball team lost its opening round tournament game. I hit one into the trees in the yard of the house across the street from left field, but because the neighbors don’t like softballs in their yard, if you hit one out in that direction it’s an out instead of a homerun. So, rather than being the hero I was a key out for the other team. I also saved my first strikeout of the season for tonight – in the league tournament. Also, my leg is bleeding from an ill-advised slide into third. Seriously, who wears shorts in a softball game?

Unexpectedly, my night was turned around as I was writing to my friend Anthony. He is a Ph.D. student in Patristics at Marquette, and has some pastoral experience in local church ministry, but we haven’t talked much about “being a pastor” yet. In his last e-mail he asked, “So how is church?”

I thought about that one for the better part of a day. I tend to look pretty closely at the trees, and it’s been a while since I’ve stepped back and looked at the forest, so this was an interesting question to me. Here is my response:

“Church is… interesting. Much more enjoyable and frustrating than I ever could have imagined. We love the people we’ve gotten to know, we love the pastoral staff, and I love the ministries I have. There’s so much to be thankful for. But the time demands are difficult and, being someone who has difficulty saying ‘no’ to anything, I’m kind of kicking my own tail. Despite it’s warts, though, I have definitely fallen deeply in love with the local church and with pastoral ministry. I’m sure it will be my life’s work.”

To step back and see the beauty of the local church, and the unspeakable privilege it is to be a common pastor serving common people for a Savior who is anything but common was a deeply joyful thing. This will be a life well spent.

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