Ben’s taking off today, and I’m back in the office. This Sunday was the first time I can remember (at least since I’ve had formal church-leadership responsibilities) that I had to call in sick on a Sunday morning. The cold that’s going around had lodged in my head and had just come to the peak of its slow crescendo with a triple-forte, head-splitting pressure headache, and I was in no state to attend church much less serve as any kind of leader. BUT thanks be to Ben & Dolores, for I am not a solo pastor, and I have many colleagues; and thanks be to you, for MPC is full of energetic and brave volunteers and committee members; and thanks be to God, for the work of the church is never a one-person show. This is not true in all churches, of course, and I know some pastors who would probably manage to finagle their way out of the Emergency Room on Sunday at 9:45 AM just so they could be on time for church, but MPC takes seriously the concept of the “priesthood of all believers.” It’s church whether or not the pastors are there. The ministers are all members; the pastors are simply set aside for our specific ministries of teaching and leading the sacraments.
When I took over leadership of the Youth Group in 2013 one youth specifically took me aside and asked me whether I would ever cancel a YG meeting, and for what reason. She was gratified to know that my own sickness would not be a reason to cancel our meetings. We continued to discuss it, and since I have what my teachers used to call an “extremely active imagination,” I was able to think of various unsafe situations that might warrant a YG cancellation – zombie apocalypse for sure – but none of them have happened yet. In fact, looking back on it, the time we had a meeting by candlelight (because of a rainstorm causing a blackout) and the time we met around a campfire in the courtyard (because there was no heat on campus) were some of the most memorable meetings we’ve had.
So thank you for doing the work of the Church, in all your various ministries, in rain or shine or cold or blackout, and especially for the way you share that work around the community.