Most of my days feel ordinary. I wake up, clean up, pour myself a cup of coffee, and update my Twitter status. From there I’m off and running with the usual business of being a pastor. Often that means lots of reading, writing, and praying. Sundays are a bit different. Sundays tend to be the overflow of the work done throughout the week. Sundays are special for me, but it would be hard to say that one Sunday is better, or more memorable, than another.
Today was one of those exceptions. At St. Giles Kingsway, we celebrated Kingsway Adventure Camp Sunday—the final event of our week long Vacation Bible School. I loved seeing the kids pour in just ahead of 10am, full of excitement , ready to sing their songs for the congregation, and wearing their ‘outback’ hats (part of the VBS theme).
Many of these kids had no previous connection to St. Giles Kingsway, and so they came accompanied by parents who also had no previous connection to our church. I hope we made a good first impression. My text was Nehemiah 8:10, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (I anticipate posting the audio this week). The key points were that joy from the Lord is strength-giving, but to gain this joy we must live in close proximity to the Lord.
At 11:15am, I switch locations to the Sports Hall for The Well. I was delighted that many of our first time attendees from 10am made a point of checking out our alternative service also. The feedback was hugely positive.
A quick lunch and then I’m off to visit a dear elderly lady in the congregation who has been house-bound for quite some time. Just as I’m about to leave, I take the lady’s hand and ask to pray for her. She responds by asking me if I could serve her the Lord’s Supper. I didn’t bring my portable communion kit with me, but she doesn’t realize this. Her son and I exchange glances as if to ask one another, “What should we do?”
We get up and head to the kitchen to find suitable items to serve as the elements for communion.
“Do you have any grape juice”, I ask.
“No. Sorry”, is the reply.
“My mother doesn’t drink.”
Hmmm. Now what?
“Do you have any kind of juice?”
“Just prune juice” is the reply.
“Ok, we’ll use that”, I said, acting as if prune juice is the perfect substitute.
I would’ve thought procuring the bread would be easy, but even then we had to cut and defrost whole wheat Wonder bread.
This was a first for me. Full communion with prune juice and newly defrosted Wonder bread as the elements. It is conceivable that someone might read this post and think, ‘Sacrilege’, but I would contend that this three person gathering for the Lord’s Supper might be one of the more holy moments in ministry I have been a part of. It was a privilege.
From there I was off to visit another dear lady in our congregation. The circumstances for this visit were markedly different. I had just learned this morning that this lady’s son had died suddenly, stemming from complications from a recent surgery. I was unprepared in a different sense for this visit. This time I didn’t know what to say. That didn’t change as the visit progressed and so I mainly sat and listened—asking just a few questions along the way. I closed the visit in prayer for her family while gleaning a sense of how acute her grief was.
Some might say that this is the ‘tough part’ of being a pastor. This is tough stuff to be sure, but I regard this to be part of what makes being a pastor such a massive privilege. To engage people who are hurting, to pray for them, and to assure them that we serve a great Saviour—A Saviour who is an ever present help in times of trouble (see Psalm 23 and Psalm 46).
Most of my days seem ordinary, but not today.
Today was a memorable day.