Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Does a Pastor Do After Church?

Some folks are always curious about the oddest things. I was asked recently, "Pastor, what do you do after you finish at Church?" Let me begin by saying that I am not as wild and crazy as I once was -- be that good or bad. So it is all rather routine.

Today I listened to The Splendid Table on NPR as I drove down the road. I saw the gas gauge was on empty (didn't know how long it had been there) so I made an executive decision and stopped for gas. When I arrived home, I put on my street duds, talked to the family, and took my lovely wife and daughter on an outing to Kroger for a few groceries (always ends up being more than a few). I got a bug about making lasagna so after we packed things into the larder, I set out to accomplish my Italian gastronomic delight.

I boiled some noodles, processed some sausage, fiddled with some jar sauce, whipped an egg into the ricotta, opened the bags of shredded mozzarella, chopped some fresh parsley and then assembled it all. It was too much (I tend to over prepare) and made a small one for the freezer as well. Popped it into the oven and when I took it out to rest, popped in a pan of brownies. Then we ate (good but some thought the sausage a little hot and spicy).

Cooking on Sunday afternoons is my favorite wind down -- a long with reading every page of the Sunday paper (which is less and less of a feat each year for The Leaf Chronicle).

When I say wind down, what I mean is that after being so busy with things on Sunday morning, it seems a little strange for me to just sit. Often I take a Sunday nap (age has taken its toll on me -- no, wait, I enjoyed a nap when I was 29, too). It seems strange to me to have been the mountain top, so to speak, and then, boom it is over. So I often try to busy myself with things so that the let down is not as abrupt. The truth is that I hate it when the liturgy is over.

It is ever so sad to walk through a building once brimming with people but now silent except for the creaking and groaning of expansion and wind. I want it to go on. I want to sing the hymns again, to listen again to the lessons read, to hear God's people pray (Lord, in Your mercy... hear our prayer), and to walk from person to person ("The body of Christ for you, Tom... Jan..."). What a sad sound when the bellows lets go of the reservoir of air that once made the pipes sing. It is over... for now.

The mass is ended. Go in peace. Serve the Lord. It reminds of the hymn, "Too soon we rise, the vessels disappear..." It is always too soon for me... so a minute to rest and read the paper and then to find some business to distract me from the fact so sad to me... The mass is ended. Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

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