“The Pastor’s responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God.” Eugene Peterson, “Working the Angles”
So. It’s getting to be Holy Week. What does a Pastor do during Holy Week?
Well, there’s worship. Lots and lots of worship. Worship on Sunday (Palm Sunday), worship on Thursday, worship on Friday, twice. And worship preparation too. And sermon preparation (by the way.) There’s working with readers and attending to weird or non-weird details (like figuring out how to dim the lights for the Tenebrae service on Good Friday, or who will be involved in stripping the altar on Maundy Thursday). How are we going to do the hand-washing?
Holy Week often includes some visiting, some hospital visits, some shut-in visits. I have a confirmation class one evening, and choir practice too.
I’ll be making phone calls to people, some to ask them for help with the children’s message, or some aspect of Easter worship, some just to check in and see how they are. If there are visitors on Palm Sunday, I’ll call them and invite them to church on Easter.
And there’s prayer. Prayer for the congregation, prayer for the community, prayers for our world. Prayer all ways, in the middle of busyness.
community attentive to God.
You might think that this means to keep the community listening for God when they come to church, to hear the story that we tell in the sanctuary, the story about God’s fierce love for us.
But that’s not exactly it.
It’s my responsibility to train the ear for signs and sounds of God in the sanctuary, so that we can all be attentive to God in every part of our life.
So, I do want people to come to church during Holy Week: starting Palm Sunday and throughout the days and nights.
And then I hope that we will all go out and notice God amid the noises and distractions and meanness of our everyday life.
I hope we will be attentive to God in those who are bent-over from serving, in those who are hungry, in those who are abandoned. I hope we will notice God in the old woman who counts her pennies at the grocery store, and in the family across the street who does not speak English, in the children who sit together in worship in the front row and sing loudly on all of the hymns.
I hope we will taste God in bread and wine, and then go out in search of more.
I hope we will look for signs of God where hearts and lives are broken, and then live for the mending.
It is not such easy work, being attentive to God. There is so much meanness in the world, and God is hiding underneath such mean things.
Lord have mercy on us.