“Sunday must be your busiest day.” This is a harmless question directed to the pastor of any church, but it also makes me want to expand on roles and what it is we do generally as Christians. We all know what hours bankers hold and what they do, we all know what lawyers do and the business hours they may hold. The question about busyness on a Sunday to a pastor tells me that most people don’t really know what the pastor does besides seeing him, or her, on a Sunday morning worship service. In the past, in answer to the harmless question, “Sunday must be your busiest day”, I have written a series on a blog that featured my own day-to-day events so that many of my own flock might gain some insight.
Having now met a great number of people in Anglican Church Freiburg (ACF) I realize that many of these faithful people are also busy people. Busy with work, family, and changing circumstances. There are many activities that happen throughout the week for all of us, but what is it that keeps us truly together when we are apart? I think this is prayer.
Often there is the temptation to feel that by doing something we are being active and productive. Yet, when we are the most busy it is good to spend more time in prayer. Ha! you say. How does one make more time to pray when already the day seems to slip past so quickly. I realize myself, that it is close to midnight as I type this out, but as soon as this is sent I will gather my thoughts into the ancient worship service called Compline. It is a quiet and contemplative prayer that marks the completion of the day and prepares one for sleep. The prayer helps me to set aside all that has been part of the ‘doing’ and allows me to simply fall into ‘being’.
How then does a growing parish with many lively activities during the week support itself? Perhaps it is not so much in the ‘doing’ that marks productivity, rather the quality of ‘being’ that is important. As always the doing and being issues arise as they did for Martha and Mary. I like to think of both aspects of our lives as life giving, just as one cannot hold one’s breath – breathing in and out is much like doing and being – part of a life-giving system.
My prayer, this night, if for the family I wait for. For the people I have met today. For the kindness of new friends. For the people who go unnoticed quietly working away for the kingdom of God. For those who offer themselves in gracious ways to communities of people in need. For those who feel that the day has been spent doing so much and yet they see so little accomplished, that they not grow weary. For those who want to be more with God despite the chaos in their lives. For the grace of God to let go of the things that we cannot change, and the sleep which will come, once we learn to put both the ‘doing’ and the ‘being’, into God’s hands.