Reading time: two minutes (Maybe less. It’s Lent!).
Tomorrow we begin the busiest season of the church year, but pastors already know that because the preparations began months ago. As the paraments change to purple, as the bulletin printer goes into overtime, as the weekly cycle of sermon preparation kicks into double time, it’s more important than ever to care of yourself.
Strap on your own oxygen mask, Pastor, before you try to take care of everyone else! My weekly Lenten reflections will offer a real short and simple thought for self-care in the busy season of Lent. Today’s topic: Don’t let your jammed full calendar define you!
We’re Easter people, you know. The season of Lent is a remembrance, a re-enactment of the Passion, but we experience once again the suffering and death of Jesus in the light of the resurrection. Jesus will not die on April 14, 2017. We’ll simply remember that He died long ago.
Baptismal grace means that we are defined by Easter. I am who I am in Christ because of His gracious love, poured out on me in His blessed Sacrament of belonging.
When we’re this busy, consumed by overloaded calendars, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I am what I do.” That’s dangerous. And it’s not true.
Christ’s perfect love for you is not measured out in proportion to Wednesday attendance. Whether you see 100 or 14 in worship, or even 1,400, it doesn’t change how wide and long and high and deep His love is for you. As Wednesday attendance creeps slowly downward over the next six weeks, remember that His love for you never dips, it never ends and it never fails. You are His own priceless treasure even if only you and the piano player show up (and she’s 10 minutes late!)
You’re not defined by what doesn’t get done, either. Projects that go unattended for a couple months, visits that are a bit more brief than you’d like, the sermon that could have used a couple more hours attention are all reminders of God’s grace to you. We offer the best we can do with what we’ve been given and trust the Lord to bless it all up real good. Your humble, sincere offerings of ministry are acceptable to Him not because of your perfection, but because of His.
Lent is about grace, about how God is so abundantly gracious to us in spite of ourselves.
As He blesses you with His word of grace this Lent, be gracious to yourself. Enjoy His favor and blessing. You can’t earn it. Don’t try.
Thanks for reading.