Yesterday I stepped into the pulpit for the first time in eleven months. I was nervous headed into it as my entire life is consumed at the moment by family and therapy. It’s the way it should be. I am needed by these tiny humans right now and that is ok. I look at colleagues and friends and admire their contribution to the Kingdom. I am impressed and inspired as I see clips of their work through pictures and blogs. I had at one point thought this might be me but God led me down a different path and that’s ok but with all of this time off I had begun to worry that I would not do well, that it might in fact be a horrible idea to go back.
As I stepped into the pulpit, gown and all it felt like coming home in a way. I felt comfortable and engaged. I was affirmed by the people of the congregation and really felt good about being back. I was relieved that it didn’t bomb. At least I think it didn’t bomb! No one said anything terrible so I’m going to take it as a good sign. As I was busy getting ready for church last week my reading time was dedicated to prayer books and commentaries last week. I really enjoyed the in-depth study and reflection on a particular text. It was a nice challenge for my brain and my heart. I also enjoyed knowing that at the end of the week I’d be enjoying worship with the people who loved me through my student placement. It was a perfect place to return to work once more.
The book I’ve chosen to reflect my week is called Feasting on the Word: A Thematic Resource for Preaching and Worship – Advent Companion. It is edited by David L. Bartlett, Barbara Brown Taylor and Kimberly Bracken Long. I really found it to be quite useful this past week. It had several perspectives on the text, some ideas for children’s stories and suggestions for prayers for the day. While I use multiple resources and re-work things to fit my own plan I found it to be helpful in providing direction and focus as I got down to work. If you’re looking for new resources and you happen to lead worship for a living you might want to check out this series. I have added the spring volume to my collection already as I’ve got a couple of Sundays booked and think it might be useful.
Now let’s talk about the title. I named this blog the hangover for good reason. In my time away I had forgotten how exhausted one is on Monday morning. I woke up remembering why it is Mondays are such a popular day off for Ministers. The ‘hangover’ after a worship service is a good one though. Well worth it in the end.