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March 28, 2013

Morning Coffee:

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

morning coffee graphicHoly Week provides clergy people with a whole range of personal and church-related challenges. Worship services are one challenge, but of all potential  Holy Week worries, leading worship services is easy. Sermon crafting is a challenge, but through the fears of not getting the wide range of Holy Week and Easter sermons completed in time, somehow every sermon either gets written or mentally outlined. While it does seem like people wait until this busy time to get sick, home and hospital calls are blessings for everyone called in the Holy Ministry since we get to bring Christ to the sick. Family commitments provide additional hills to climb, but these are good hills since a clergyman is spending time with his loved ones.

For me, these Holy Week challenges are not really challenges, at all. This is all part of the regular routine, only increased slightly.

Yet there are those additional events that pop up during these days that provide mountains of stress and internal pastoral care fears, none of which can be uttered about or shared.

Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon provided such incidents for me, causing me to worry that my pastoral work and visitation list would not be complete by the end of the week. While these events gave me a chance to speak about Jesus, they also built up fears in my heart that the pastoral care work I needed to accomplish would not get done. Unable to sleep since these worries continued to bounce through my head while I tossed and turned in bed last night, I awoke this morning and asked the Father for help.

When the sun rose, I headed over to church to prepare for Morning Prayer when I realized that some church work that I had on my list for Wednesday was not complete. I wanted to punch the wall. For instance, the hymn boards were still reading “Palm Sunday” instead of “Maundy Thursday.” As my stress level started to rise as the hymns for last Sunday were staring at me from the boards, I turned around and looked the crucifix and quietly said to myself, “I get it.”

And I chuckled.

With my fears eased and a smile on my face, I started on the list that didn’t get accomplished yesterday. As I type this, the hymn boards still read “Palm Sunday.” But I know that God is with me through real struggles that brothers and sisters in Christ are challenged by and man-made ones like hymn boards not being set for worship. Somehow, the work will get done, Christ will be brought to those who cannot join us this evening, and God’s love will abound.  We all seemingly worry about not getting everything we want done, especially around holidays (like Easter). But somehow, they do.

But they won’t get done if I keep sitting here typing. Time to clean out this coffee cup and get back to church.

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