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Super Couple

Sunday off-ness

Yesterday got started on the wrong foot. For some reason, I started the morning in a less-than-ideal mood about what Sunday mornings look like for me—as a church staffer, they're understandably (and often necessarily) full of things that call for my response, both the expected parts of making the morning run and a variable (but standard) volume of questions people have for me. Many of the latter aren't connected to Sunday operations, but rather are of the "Oh, I've been meaning to ask you" variety, and it's a challenge to keep up with all of it while fostering a welcoming environment and keeping the trains running on time. But as I said, it's all very understandable, and much of it is necessary.

Yesterday was also a morning off for barlow_girl as the coordinator of our children's ministries, which wasn't an easy adjustment for her. Besides the fact that changing long-standing routines and taking breaks throw almost anyone off his or her game, serving is also part of Amy's worship, so it's strange to have that block removed from the middle of the Jenga tower. It's a lot to process, and everyone has an opinion about what's "healthy" in that regard (which, regrettably, can just lead to more to sort through).

All that set the stage of weirdness, and I did indeed face an onslaught of issues and questions upon arrival. The biggest one came midway through the first service, when Phil, our chief musician, showed me where we'd made a mistake and didn't print all of the music for a song later in the service. The orchestra was already prepared to adapt (which they did), and it would have been fine (it was at the first service!), but I also got it in my head that we could fix it for the second service. I moved toward that goal in plodding steps, with interruptions all along the way, and with Amy's help headed across the neighborhood to our office to print replacement programs.

With a few shuttle trips we replaced the programs in time for the attendees of the second service, and I'm glad we did. But we both felt like we'd been through the wringer when all was said and done, and needed to cancel our attendance at another meeting later in the day in order to recover. None of that is a textbook "big deal," at all. And clearly, Sunday mornings can be a spiritual battleground—I see and hear it all the time. Moreover, I'm so glad to serve as I do and to have the support of Amy and others, whereby we can foster an environment in which our community can worship God.

Sunday mornings, however, won't be an outpost of sabbath rest for us, which comes with my job and Amy's volunteer role. Sometimes I think others, meaning well, want us to carve out such rest on Sunday mornings, but I'm not convinced that's where it belongs or can be for us; not only is that impossible with my job (I tried early on), but we'd both lose so much by doing so. If God calls us to give that up, that's one thing (and a voice to which we don't want to be deaf), but that aspect of our lives doesn't map to the lives of our well-meaning friends. The challenge is to integrate the spirit of what they (and God!) want for us without necessarily taking on their prescriptions of when and how, while trying to avoid being arrogantly dismissive of voices outside ourselves we need to hear. That probably creates an "open question" about rest in our lives, and while we'd both like to systematize or close it, we probably won't get to (if we're wise).

Comments

My best friend is the Executive Pastor of operations and spends Sundays working from about 5am - 9pm (sometimes later). He's exhausted, gets little rest, but really finds joy in the work believing it is exactly what God has him there to do. And though it's not for everyone, God certainly blesses some in that area of service, and it sounds like you guys probably fit in that niche as well.
I think so, too, though I don't want to lump anyone's encouragement toward rest into "you just don't understand our lives" (that way lies unaccountable madness). Staying open to voices outside ourselves while learning what's good and healthy for us is a tricky tension. As always, it's the same question: "What does it mean to be faithful?" That's not a question we can answer alone, but we alone have to answer it.