I was about to practice the sermon when one of my members interrupted me, “Pastor?” He knows better. I need this practice Sunday morning, before anyone else is here. I need this last review. What’s he doing –
“Pastor?” he repeats. Next to him stands a woman swaddled in blankets. She shaking. Her face is so tired I can’t tell her age.
She creaks out, “I need help.” (more…)
I have no idea what just happened.
I’ve been gearing up for today’s meeting for months. When I’d brought up similar things with the council, I received anger. I honestly braced for certain members of the council to walk out of this meeting and not come back.
I think my friends are sick and tired of hearing how nervous I was about this meeting. I know, though, that many of them have been praying. And it humbles me. This morning a friend told me she was praying for me. I burst into tears.
Last night I told my Bride that I was done here. I love the people. I love this place. But… but I’m burning out. I can’t serve with leaders so often openly hostile – not for this long. Not when there are other churches crying out for pastors. The people…I love them, but they’re burning me out. I don’t know how much longer I can stay here. (more…)
Yeah. That would be an unexpected cliffhanger.
I just said goodbye.
He’s being sent away for thirty months. I might be able to visit on occasion, but not nearly the weekly visits I’d been able to do. His time in my life, at least for now, is at least shifting in character. And he tells me… he tells me he’s never had a pastor like me.
A pastor that cared enough to visit him. Even in jail.
Who am I? I’m nothing. I’m not special. I’m not even giving him what I could. And he’s crying now, talking about how his dad abandoned him. About how he wants to be a good dad. All things I’ve talked with him about so many times.
And… and I say goodbye. Because the time has come. This is the conclusion. (more…)
Two and a half years.
He’s sentenced. He’s going away. And the children who call him dad don’t even have the ability to say goodbye. No final hugs. Nothing. The woman I was supposed to marry him to stews beside me in the courtroom.
And then the judge decides to get preachy. Look, I’m a preacher. I know what it is to deliver the Law. I do it quite often. Pretty much every sermon, in fact. But this man… He decides to directly insult the accused’s fiance. For no reason I can determine. In matters in no way pertaining to the case.
And we can say… nothing.
And then the judge says that there is no way the accused could have misunderstood his previous sentencing. “No one could be that stupid.”
Because clearly our court system is a cinch to navigate. Because clearly no one could misunderstand what a judge’s order is. Because clearly a man who never graduated high school can read court documents oh, so well. Because clearly this man is lying about what he does and does not understand.
And we can say… nothing. (more…)