Okay. Today is the last day I will start a post with a comment about how I will do better or what my plan is to stop missing days or catching up or blah blah blah. We can all see that apparently I am scattered. Ah, tis the season. But I will do what I can, and go from there!
Appreciate: What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
The thing that I came to appreciate most in the past year is the wisdom of the aged, and the stories I'm hearing from "a simpler time."
Now, that is not to be confused with telling you that these things are quaint. On the contrary, I want to defend these encounters from quaintness. I find myself really chafing lately when I talk about some of the blessings of my ministry that I encounter especially because people will say, "Oh, that's what you experience at a 'little country church' in your first call." It bothers me when there is this sense that I am only dealing with relics, and not with something that is still real and true today.
The people that I sit with, who tell me about "how things used to be" at time wear me thin, with their constant questioning of the digital age and technology and "how you young people do things these days," but at the same time, they help me to slow down.
I am having trouble being articulate right now about all the ways that I think this "small church/country" mentality is still worthwhile, but suffice it to say for this post that it is the thing I am appreciating most this year.
I continue to struggle with people who tell me things like, "This is just your first call," or to categorize "country church ministry" as something that pastors do right out of seminary before they move to the "big church" in the suburbs or the city. I think that this ministry is just fine, and I am determined to at least stay for the duration of the time I feel God has called me here -- whether that is 2 more years or 5 more years or 10 more years!
Oh, and speaking of that, as a footnote (not that you can footnote the Holy Spirit), I also want to say that my belief in the Holy Spirit has also been stoked this year, and that I truly believe that if we are tuned into the Holy Spirit, we can do anything, and God will be with us, watching and guiding us.