This week (and a bit of last ) have also had a different rhythm for me as well. Not so much due to the weather, we have that ALL the time from November to April, but because of a couple sick days that laid me flat last week and two days of jury duty this week that got my week out of sync.
As a non-stipendiary part-time priest with a full-time day job, my ministry life has a different rhythm to it than that of a full time pastor. It feels sometimes like the two mesh well and run along smoothly together. At other times it feels like my "official" ministry life gets tucked into the little crevices and spaces where there are bits of time and space, even though I have no doubt whatsoever that the "real" ministry never stops...day job or not, and that indeed it is the ministry whether we call it that or not.
But as for perks.....not in any particular order
- People....the people I know that I would not were I not doing what I am doing....from folks in my congregation and the larger church denomination, to RevGals met in IRL and not (and those I'm going to SOON!) to my friend L, who stays in my prayers and in my heart even during long silences when I have no idea where he is or what he is up to, and even perhaps my sweet husband, whom I did meet after all for the first time when he was the godfather of the first baby I baptised. Who knows...if not for the impression he made then, would we have connected later?
- The opportunities to be part of something big and wonderful that makes a difference. Yes, I'm talking mission and even though I wish we were able to do more, even our tiny little place has done something, has made and continues to make a difference and I get to be part of that, to preach to encourage, to educate and motivate.
- Being invited into people's lives "simply because" of the trust given to one ordained. This is to me this huge sacred trust and gift and I try to be ever so careful with it.
- The chance to celebrate liturgy. As a liturgy geek for a very long time, the idea that I would be able to be up there doing that just about gave me the vapors back in my pre-ordination days! While I no longer feel the need of stand-by EMT's, there is no less a sense of complete awe and a wonder pretty much every time that I really do get to be here again...on this 100 year old altar saying these very ancient words and feeling gathered around me (literally sometimes) a communion of saints from down the ages, breathing and praying with me.
- Preaching. I like it more than I thought I ever would, and I find it a perk because I always always learn something new about the Gospel, Jesus or myself in the process! Yes I grouse sometimes when it's one of those weeks where there are not enough hours to find time to reflect and do solid exegesis and write a meaningful sermon that will touch my little church's hearts while working a forty hour day job, attend to other churchy stuff and trying to have a life as well. But fortunately those are few. I have found a rhythm that works for the most part. We have a schedule and we are on the lectionary, so I can "work ahead" and generally have at least a few weeks between sermons. I start the next one as soon as the last one is preached and it seems to be working so far. I try to follow the criteria of one of my mentors....make it news and make it good!