Monday, June 22, 2009

Gritty Reality - or why the vicar is just a tad ashamed!

The thing about preachers is, - do we ever manage to practice what we preach?

After spending Saturday afternoon/evening focussing on God's presence in our storms, you'd have thought I might be able to weather at least a minor squall, no?
But, as so often, I thought I was writing about the Great Drama of life - real griefs, terrible losses, earth-shaking events.
This meant I was quite unable to apply my own words to the minor irritation that drove me to frenzy yesterday.

Yesterday, coming as it did between Saturday & Monday, turned out to be Sunday - and not just any old Sunday but the third in the month.
This meant that in addition to the usual morning selection of Eucharists, at 8.00, 9.30 and 11.00, in the afternoon we also have 2 hours of Messy Church ...and this month I was a bit more personally involved in preparations, as some of the team were sadly unable to be with us.
So, when I packed my bag for the morning rush, I included my purse - planning to lapse into a bit of Sunday shopping in the form of fish fingers & French Fries at the big supermarket at the bottom of the hill after morning worship.
Three services later, I pulled into the car park and delved for my purse.
Scrabbling around on the floor of the car (a favourite hiding place) brought no results.
Nor did returning home to my uncharacteristically tidy study...nor retracing my steps around the churches.
Failing to remember my own words (after all, Jesus is only any use for the big crises, right?!) I launched into my own particular combination of panic & tantrum, the emotional squall that tends to assail me whenever inanimate objects fail to fall into line...
Given cards, driving licence, and my last few rupees, which I had tucked away in a side pocket as a promise to myself that one day I will return to India, the panic element was considerable - the full "knotted-tummy,-unable-to-concentrate-on- much-else" deal.
Sound stormy yet?

LCM, whose profession requires an eye for detail, accompanied me on this search and we investigated vestries in both churches, the upstairs office where I'd done some copying and pretty well every flat surface my bag had ever been on.
The bag in question is one of those hessian shopping bags that are designed to discourage you from adding to the global plastics it has an open top, and yesterday it was pretty full.
As the Messy Church team assembled we discussed possibilities, and reluctantly concluded that my purse had been at the top of the bag in a public space for just long enough to tempt someone. Apparently not the first time things have vanished, even from more sensible spots in church - and even during worship.
Add a measure of pastoral guilt (what sort of church leadership creates a climate in which someone might come to worship and combine this with a spot of minor theft?) and the internal turmoil was beginning to reach gale force.

The concensus was that cards should be cancelled without more ado - so LCM promised to do this while I continued with Messy Church (which, despite all this, was its usual delightful, community-building self: I specially love the meal, when parents, children and teenage helpers all sit down together. I love this even more when K's marshmallow crispies are on the menu, but that's beside the point)
I received lots of sympathic outrage from parents and helpers, indulged in a fair bit of messy creativity myself, and even managed to make the point that Peter was often not so much "Rock" as "Rocky" without noticing a similarity...

It wasn't until much much later, when guests had departed, the team cleared up, and the Dufflepud and I were locking the vestry...or maybe it was later still, when I'd dealt with all the relieved embarassment created by his finding the purse, on a dark chair, in a dark corner, where LCM and I (and 2 or 3 others besides) had already hunted to no avail....but finally, sometime last night (was it before or after the phone lost and found? I really don't know)....finally I MADE THE CONNECTION.

I spend so much time reminding people that God is involved in every aspect of their lives, that God cares about details, that we can and should look Godwards in the most "trivial" situations...that Jesus won't leap out of our boat if the seas are a bit rough...
So I guess this is by way of a very public confession!
I have not done those things that I ought to have done, and I have done those things that I ought not to have done...
I just left God out of my calculations through one long and wearing afternoon.
Fortunately, She's not one to bear grudges - so I'm off to preside at the Eucharist for St Alban.
Thank God for new days and fresh starts - and a week without credit card can surely only be good for me!


Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

LOL! I shouldn't laugh, but oh, how often have I been there and done that? Someone once told me that we preach to ourselves above all, and I do think that's very true.

Jonathan Hunt said...

Let that be a lesson to you for trying to shop on a Sunday. Oh yes.

But seriously, how easy it is to preach about trust, how hard to exercise it.

Song in my Heart said...

Who wants to hear about trusting God from some little-miss-perfect who gets things right all the time and so couldn't possibly understand what it is to wrestle with oneself?

God_Guurrlll said...

Amen and Amen!

I miss you so. xo

Michelle said...

Oh...I know that feeling in the stomach. And while confession is said to be good for the soul, this one cheers mine. And it offers me hope to have someone who has walked the same path reminding me of who else is on it (storms or not).

Thanks for helping me invite Jesus into this morning...

Crimson Rambler said...

beautiful description of "the state" one gets oneself into...I spent some similar time yesterday trying to find (non existent) private-motor-vehicle access to a new rapid-transit station so I could rendez-vous with a friend (with brand-new hip) from out of town. Knotted tummy and all.
Fortunately her patience prevailed...and re-set the tone for the evening!

Graham said...

This is so so true....glad I'm not the only one that fails to make a connection!

Very encouraging(again) thanks!