From Sally at RGBP:
This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture.....1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope? Ummm, that's different from my normal week how? Actually, as a pastor this happens quite often. Sometimes it means a late night at the office. In these days of laptops and the internet, it often means a night on the computer at home finishing up the stuff that needed finishing. I've also learned to prepare WAY in advance for the stuff that can be done WAY in advance. I do worship planning at least two months out, and I'm trying to get myself in the habit of always working at least two months ahead on the calendar for stuff that can be done early.
Here then is this week's Friday 5:
2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do? Hope they like frozen pizza? At this point in our lives we don't have many unexpected visitors: with the baby folks generally understand we need advance notice for just about everything.
Three discussion topics:
3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations..... Oh heavens, yes. I've wondered sometimes if the massive shopocalypse is our way of avoiding the harder work of repentance. I know I've tried to shop my way into feeling better in the past - and I can also tell you it doesn't work.
4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow..... You mean like my sermons? :-) True at times, but not always. Generally true when you're dealing with children and less so with adults - going with the flow with an attractive young lady would definitely NOT be one of the best experiences of this married father's life.
5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly... Again, true at times. Making sure the bulletin notes what "WOV" and "LBW" and "ELW" mean are details that do allow a worship service to roll forward smoothly. Having a category 5 snit over the location of the flag or the font style in the bulletin or who says what in the Christmas program are details that have crossed from "helpful" to "problematic."
Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year? Ummm, as much as any year, which is to say, worship is set, I know where the candles for the candlelight service are, my soup is ready for next week's Advent supper, and I haven't bought one present for Beloved, Ainsley or my name from the family hat yet. Typical.
Let me also say that this will be one of those busy weeks, due to the death of a beloved member of our community. While it means more work, this is work that is the great privilege of every pastor to carry out. I told the family this morning that I was honored to still be here to preside over C's funeral, and I meant it. Even in this Advent season, as we anticipate the coming of Christ, we know that we ourselves are dying - and in Christ alone do we hope.
The picture is the Schlosskirche or "Castle Church" in Lutherstadt-Wittenberg, Germany. I took this picture in January 2003 when I was in Wittenberg, the city in which Martin Luther lived and preached for most of his life. One of the great regrets of my life is that I'll never get to spend Advent or Christmas in Germany, due to the job requirements I have here in the U.S. in that season. It would be grand to tour the Christmas markets and drink gluhwein every night.