Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Doors Slamming in my Face...


I am working on a project and I feel like doors keep slamming in my face. 

I need volunteers. 

SLAM.  "Sorry, I am not available."  "Sorry, I can't do that."  "Sorry, I can no longer help that weekend."

It feels sort of like doors slamming in my face.  Then last night, after a particular loud SLAM, I went to bed, and God totally provided with me a revelation.

I wonder how Joseph felt when he was entering Bethlehem and realized there was no place for him to stay?

I mean, if I had been Joseph, I would have probably been totally excited for the amazing 5 star Marriott Hotel with super awesome Breakfast Buffet (complete with omelet station!) that God was going to provide for Mary and I when we arrived in Bethlehem.    I mean after all Mary WAS going to be giving birth to the SON OF GOD.  Why wouldn't God be providing an AMAZING set up for Himself?  I mean he is GOD.  Right?

I think I would have been dreaming of my omlet the entire walk from Galilee to Bethlehem.  Tomatoes, bacon, spinach, onions, and lots of cheese.  Totally.  Maybe some feta if they have that too.  For sure a waffle.  Loaded with whip cream and chocolate chips.  I mean it's free right? 

Or whatever the equivalent to this is around the birth of Christ.

If I were Joseph, and I had showed up to the first place and they had said, "NO ROOM" I think I would have been slightly annoyed, but I would have told myself, it is probably just because GOD has something better in mind.  

But what God had planned wasn't better, was it?  It was way worse.

I think if I were Joseph, when I finally went to the LAST PLACE in BETHLEHEM and they told me again, sorry dude, there is not any room here either, I WOULD HAVE FLIPPED OUT.

I mean seriously God?  (I would have been thinking.)  I am doing all of this for you and you can't even provide a decent place for us to sleep????  I would have been probably doubting and WHINING, "Why the HECK isn't God paving a path for me to do His will easily?"   I would have been wondering where the heck GOD wanted MARY to give birth to HIS son.

I probably would have been doubting whether or not it really was God's son.

The next thing I know I would have been trying to make Mary as comfortable as possible while she gives birth to the son of GOD next to animals.    I think I would have felt completely confused, and angry and annoyed at how ridiculously far away this whole scenario was from my idea.  I probably would have felt like I failed my pregnant wife, and that I looked like a disorganized husband.

Can anyone relate?

Of course now we know the entire plan.  Now we celebrate Christmas with tiny manger scenes.  No one thinks about how God could have come up with a birth plan that truly GLORIFIED Him the way He is due.  (Yes. I do mean omelet station.)   

Yet, when I do God's work now, I so easily forget that sometimes God's plan doesn't look so pretty. Sometimes it is messy, and sometimes it even involves manure.  But it is STILL HIS PLAN.  

So as these doors are slamming in my face, I have to take a minute to realize that maybe this project I am working on, won't be 5 star.  Maybe it will be messy and challenging and maybe it will be completely different than I am expecting.  But just because it may not be GLORIOUS, doesn't mean it wasn't his plan all along.


Friday, October 6, 2017

New Realization... Parish Employees should all be Canonized

I took a part time contractual position with my local parish, because you know what mother of five children who has a full time job DOESN'T also want a part time job?  Right?

Actually this job was really an answer to prayer.  Let me start at the beginning, and then I will get to the part about the canonizations of all parish employees.

I LOVE retreats, something about escaping the realities of life for a period of time to just bask in the light of GOd's love, and grow intimately with our Lord in prayer really makes me glad.  Even more than attending retreats, I LOVE planning and helping coordinate retreats so that others can bask in the light of God's love and grow intimately with our Lord in prayer.  To me its a thrill, and a "high" and I want everyone to feel what I feel, and experience what I experience.  SO we can all be "high" together.  (Deep down inside I really am a hippie.)

So about a year ago, and opportunity for a new full time job was presented to me and it included planning and coordinating confirmation retreats.  Well you see I sort of had a full time job already that I have been working at a for a while and I don't feel God calling to me leave.  But I did feel God calling to me to make a suggestion to my Pastor who had offered the role to me.  The suggestion was to coordinate just the confirmation retreats, as a contract employee and keep my full time job.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what the response would be, but when I received the "yes" from my Pastor. I immediately took it as confirmation from God that HE is calling me to do this.  I was excited, and filled with confidence that God really does want to use me in this way.

Then, I thought, "Wait a minute? What in the heck am I thinking?  I can't do this!"   (Those thoughts were not from God by the way.)

SO here I am in the thick of it, and it is happening.  I have to be honest. I am calling on the spirit of Moses a lot lately.  He had a speech impediment and yet, God called him to be the Voice of the Israelites to Pharaoh.  I am have a TIME impediment, and yet God is calling me to plan and coordinate three parish retreats.  Well God,  you are the one who invented Time, so here we go.

Since taking on this tiny little contract position, I have had a glimpse into the life of a parish employee, and truthfully I am realizing THEY ARE ALL PROFESSIONAL BEGGARS.  Every. Single. One.

Each parish is only as good as it's volunteers.  And in all fairness they shouldn't really be called Volunteers at all.  We are ALL called to be Disciples of Christ and Christ is speaking to each of us, when he says, "Go Therefore and Make Disciples of All Nations."  When you serve a parish community you are MAKING DISCIPLES.

Now in addition to begging people to step up and serve without any financial compensation, we require that they turn in 18 pages of paperwork, background checks, finger printing, and a three hour on-line training program to serve the youth.  WOW.  Now try to recruit disciples.

Yet this is what our Religious Education Directors, Youth Ministers, and Core teams have been doing for years.  This is seriously Saintly.

So here is my proposal for immediate consideration.

The three miracles necessary to be canonized can all be considered done after they have successfully recruited their first three volunteers.   Canonization should take place as soon as they have breathed their final breath.  Because in all fairness every Parish Employee is a TRUE SAINT even before they have passed onto heaven.

Seriously people, love on your parish staff members.  Send them flowers, show them you care.  Step up to disciple their domain;  preferably before they get to the "begging" stage.  Pray for them!  Pray that their work doesn't become tedious, and that they don't experience burn out.  Pray that they remember the spark that initiated their acceptance of the call, and that they always remain close to Christ to guide them in their vocation!!!