Good morning! How is everyone this morning?
Genesis 15:1-6 (NRSV)
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”3 And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” 4 But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” 5 He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Yesterday was an interesting day. I had originally signed up for an all day event talking about clergy retirement and pensions. I looked ahead at my list and realized some things. I am going to be out of town most of next week to two different clergy events. The City of McMinnville is asking a group of us working on homelessness to present short term homework to them on Friday night. That group of us is getting together today to talk about what to present. I was expecting a new letter from the City with harsher words and stronger deadlines for our homeless folks (it came in the afternoon). And my co pastor is returning to the CoOp on Sunday. There was a lot to do and very little time to do it. I made the call. I bailed on the all day event that would take a few hours to get to and a few hours to get home. I sent my regrets and decided to do a little self care and job care so I wouldn’t be so frantic.
I made a pact to myself to be in the church office all day with my laptop. Time to hammer some things out, including responding the pages of email that I have received and have been too swamped to return to. I am big on keeping my commitments but I couldn’t see staying healthy and making the event.
I headed to the church pretty early with laptop in hand. I opened my office door and set up camp. The front office is right across the way so I helped with the first of the morning tasks and answered the line of questions that came at me from all directions. It calmed down.
I settled in. Our custodian came by. Our custodian is unique. He is a retired ordained UMC elder prison chaplain. He picked up the recycling. We smiled. He came back to set down the recycling. I was typing. “Hey Court….wanna talk about it or just wade through and pretend like life isn’t crazy.” Then we talked for a while. It was good. It was necessary.
I went back to my computer. Made a list of everyone at our meeting on Saturday who wants to work more to look towards solutions for the homeless. Phone call….great convo. I emailed a possible housing plan to housing authority and sent them a list of folks that we can give applications to. Phone call….emergency diverted. Phone call…pastoral care. Phone call….
Person walks in for assistance who only speaks Spanish. I am the only Spanish speaker on staff right now.
Back to the computer. Phone call….
Back to the computer. Lunch with friend.
Back to the computer. Emergency out front with one of our everyday congregation. Not life threatening but enough for another staffer and I to take her to the hospital. She shared everything. She knew we were on her side. She knew she was safe in my car and on the way. We made sure she made it and had a plan. We returned to the church.
I missed three phone calls.
I left the office at 5pm with still lists of emails, a sermon undone, and papers to wade through. But it was ok. I saw the stars. I knew that today was full of God’s work. God didn’t bring me out to the stars (although last night the stars were out and walked among them while I took out the dog and reflected on my day) but God brought the stars to me. I was present in a space and I was present for what I could do in that space. We don’t get that gift very often. And if we do, do we think it gets in the way?
Abram is promised descendants. I think we are promised that God will walk with us…whatever that looks like. At the same time, we have to take a moment to remember that God will be abundant…like the stars in the sky. Take a moment to observe today.