Today’s scripture: Job 13:13-19
13 “Let me have silence, and I will speak,
and let come on me what may.
14 I will take my flesh in my teeth,
and put my life in my hand.
15 See, he will kill me; I have no hope;
but I will defend my ways to his face.
16 This will be my salvation,
that the godless shall not come before him.
Listen carefully to my words,
and let my declaration be in your ears.
1I have indeed prepared my case;
I know that I shall be vindicated.
1 Who is there that will contend with me?
For then I would be silent and die.
It is happening. I can feel it in the air. This time of year is what I am calling, “Holy week mania.” I am going to tell you a little secret about the clergy life. There are times of year where it feels as though the world is starting to spin just a little out of control. Tensions run high around the church. ALL of the crises happen right then. People bring major ideas forward and seem to think NOW is the time to act on them. The expectations of the church rise. The expectations of the pastor get much higher. If someone was unhappy in the church, they think about it more now. If someone is happy with the church, this is the time of year that they are really excited about it all.
It is the week before Holy Week and Holy Week is like Superbowl for the church world. When you are a pastor, you are ON starting last week until just after Easter. Ready….set….
You would think that Christmas Eve is the other season for this. You are right about that but that full schedule starts up right at Thanksgiving. All of a sudden all of our family stuff comes up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The emotions run high.
For Easter, the time is now. Now, when this happens, I catch myself every once in a while get a little ranty. I caught myself in this mode yesterday. The day before had been a long day. I was in meetings allllll day on Wednesday and taught my class. In between, there was a little bit of drama and many requests of me. Oh, and in pre Holy Week and Holy Week there is zero time to actually accomplish the things I would like to accomplish. Plus, for me, people get time over things….so when people want more time during the week, those appointments win rather than emails…..Anyway, some stuff happened on Wednesday. So when I walked into the church on Thursday morning, I was primed for my rantyness. Have you had those mornings? I wasn’t in a bad mood. I just responded not in my best self perhaps. Mark was kind of in the same space. So we closed the office door so we both could wade through some emails and just….rant….about life.
Did you see what so and so wants?? Are you kidding me?
Do you hear about what happened the other day? What is that about???
Have you heard that we need to do this thing or that thing or the other???
It didn’t really matter what each item was about. We were not our best selves because both of us are dealing with much on our plates and the plates don’t seem to clear off anytime soon.
This is not stuff that we can’t handle or that we don’t like. This is just…stuff.
And that happens every once in a while. The trick is to not stay in that space. The trick is to find other space to recenter. Job doesn’t have that kind of space yet. I love the book of Job. It is one of my favorite books of the bible believe it or not. The poetry is so gorgeous and the characters are good characters. Plus I love that the book of Job takes on very human issues and reminds us of who God is. Job is ranting. He is totally in a ranty mood. He has a right to be. He has lost everything he had…family, health, wealth. So he wants a voice. He wants the microphone. He is tired of his friends telling him why all of this stuff has happened. It is his turn to yell at God. Every little thing now makes him just want to die (I can relate to the drama).
The better part about all of this is that God takes the rant and then comes back to Job out of a whirlwind and says…ok, enough ranting. Make space to really see where you are. Even though all has been taken away, God has still created all of these wonders in the world. God says to Job…I have made all of this. I am God. End of story. Make space. Zoom out of where you are and look around.
So today I am zooming out to take a different perspective a bit. I am creating some space to breathe and to take in what God has created. Yes, the mania will still be around me. Yes, the expectations are growing by the second but if I zoom out I can remember that this is also one of my favorite parts of the holy year. I LOVE Holy Week and I LOVE how Holy Week works. And I love the people I get to work with around me. Thank goodness I have colleagues to rant with and then laugh a whole lot. Thank goodness there are people in the congregation who are passionate about the church and life. Thank goodness people remind me of what God is doing.
How will you zoom out today? (And perhaps you need a good rant first….ready…set…)