Each week I am tasked with creating a sermon to share on Sunday morning. Every week I find myself wondering how this happened and dreaming of returning to civilian life. I daydream of becoming a librarian, spending my days surrounded by books and quietness.
Putting together a Sunday service is like putting on a play each week: choose the reading, pick the hymns, ask people to participate. Print the bulletins, make sure there's coffee, light the candles, check the mic. Some weeks it's done with time to spare, others I'm running around on Sunday morning, putting last minute touches on everything.
All the world's a stage, indeed.
A weekly sermon is a challenge. Six days is not enough time for a reading from scripture to ferment. I wonder sometimes who came up with the system and I often imagine what a church of my own creation would look and feel like.
Sometimes I wish I could just stay in bed on Sunday morning. I wish I could sleep in, then grab The New York Times and go to Bob's Diner for a bite to eat. I can almost remember what those carefree Sunday mornings felt like.
But there is something that I know to be true, and it keeps me keeping on, driving to church each Sunday morning: I have been many things in this life: student, teacher, writer, photographer, editor, firefighter, shopkeep, but I have never been more proud to name myself by my vocation than I am now, as a pastor. I like to play with it: pastor, minister, preacher. I like the old language best: preacher.
I have participated in almost every aspect of a wedding: bride, bridesmaid, guest, photographer, floral designer, but I have never been happier than I am as the officiant.
Weddings, baptisms, funerals, in the hospital, at the bedside of the dying, standing at the pulpit on Sunday morning. I am in love with my work.
I don't really know how this happened. It was not, by any means, intentional. My route to this life was zig-zaggy with dead ends and u-turns. I started where most people end up and God only knows where it will all go from here.
Maybe I was born with this map in my heart. Maybe that's how it works. What I'm going to say in tomorrow's sermon is that what I do know is that I'm a Godspotter, and I will take full credit for inventing that word.
What I understand now is that I am in relentless pursuit of evidence of God in our lives. I found it this week, in the hospital, in the contours of the frozen puddles, in my daughter's eyes. In my son's tender story of what may be his first love. I felt the presence of God when Will and Brett took the time to get together to plan the music we will all enjoy tomorrow morning. I felt God in Hannah's hug and when she handed me the eggs from her chickens. I saw God while I was watching my dad ski with my daughter on a perfect blue-sky day. I encountered God watching my friend, Joey, gently stroke his dying mother's head. I saw God in a mother talking to her daughter at the coffee shop and in the kindness of the person who rescued our dog. I even found God in Eric's death, in all of the ways the people who loved him managed to transcend time and space to connect, precisely as we humans are meant to connect.
I think this is what it means to be a preacher. It's about Godspotting and I will be doing it until the hour of my death. And most likely beyond. Amen.