Thursday, February 22, 2018

My Silence is My Exhaustion

 I am sixth months into my first called position as a pastor. This past week, I led an Ash Wednesday service, presided at a funeral and of coarse led a Sunday worship service. On Ash Wednesday, the day I reminded my flock that one day, they will die too, seventeen people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Now as a pastor, I’m sure there is some expectation that I hop on social media and start preaching in some way; I certainly had that expectation of myself. So, in the middle of preparing for a funeral, I am reading tons of posts, memes, articles, videos, etc. that I could just share instead of having to take the time to write something of my own. Now there were a lot of really good material out there and some of it I “liked.” I did not, however, find anything that I could post that would actually represent my thoughts. And so, I posted nothing and instead tended to my people.

What I’ve learned about social media is that no matter what you say, it does not often change anyone’s mind and it is rarely a platform for any good conversation. The people that agree with you may like and share, or offer a positive comment, and those that don’t agree with you, well, the range of reactions can vary.

The very difficult task of being a pastor is finding that key balance of being both prophetic and pastoral. Because being merely prophetic just draws a line between those who agree with you and those who don’t, and being merely pastoral doesn’t really create an environment for any change of hearts and minds. In order to make an impact there has to be some basis of trust, which isn’t instantly built between pastor and congregants.  

So, as I prepared for Sunday, with my people in mind I did the best I could to maintain the trust I’ve built so far and attempted to be both prophetic and pastoral. I asked teachers and students to light seventeen candles during our welcome music.
A congregant offered to have hearts for us to write messages to the high school and she would mail them. And I prepared a sermon that used the lectionary text, lent and gun control as the message to my people. Was it the best sermon I’ve ever preached? Definitely not, but it was an honest one during my very exhausting week.

Perhaps you are wondering why I bothered to blog since this mostly says why I have not been posting on social media. This is simply for the people who want to hear from me.

Lent is a time to let go of those behaviors that hold us back from honoring God. Jesus has returned from the wilderness and calls us to change our hearts and minds. Change needs to happen. Return to God and believe in the good news with changed hearts and minds.

For from God’s beloved dust you came and to God’s beloved dust you shall return.