From the Heart

I attended two other churches the first two weeks away and last weekend I went fishing with my brother and best friend in Missouri. Stopping by church this week, I saw B. J., Carol and Ken. I have run into other parish members in other venues too. I miss everyone. Sundays just aren’t the same.

Seminary training is still infected with the 1970s concept of “professionalism” and the idea of the minister as a quasi-therapist. In this approach, the clergy is to maintain a professional distance from members of the parish. While I acknowledge the importance of professional boundaries, and I strive to maintain them, it seems that such an approach is simply not Christ-like.

When Jesus healed the man born blind, he spit on the ground and spread the mud in the man’s eyes. Today that would probably earn you a lawsuit. When Jesus changed water into wine, he didn’t give Peter a credit card and send him to the corner package liquor store. He prayed and touched the water jugs. He was “hands-on” and intimate with people in the most important ways.

In a small town, in a church that envisions itself as a “family church,” the priest must be part of the family. I have tried to serve in this capacity – as part of the family. And it is an honor to do that in this community. In this odd time where I am away from the church but still in town, I feel the separation. I pray for people at all hours. I wonder how some are doing. I miss you all. Every one of you is close to my heart.

And may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of God’s son, Jesus Christ. And may you be blessed in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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