Sunday, 1 July 2012

God's fuzzy boundaries

I'm not too bad at boundaries. I wrote about them last week.
I have quite a few in place - I want to be a Minister for the long haul; don't burn out; protect the family; observe your day off.
I have read a really scary book about clergy burn out called 'The Cracked Pot.'
My boundaries are generally eminently sensible.
But what if they might be a bit too sensible?

For example, I have always protected some time to write my sermon each week.
This week it just didn't work.
A reunion; a funeral; visitors; Regatta; end of term; a late night train trip...I could feel stress rising and control of the diary slipping hopelessly.
It was Saturday evening when I realised the sermon wasn't going to get written.

And then there's wearing the dog collar: I do when I'm being 'Minister'; when I'm shopping, picking up kids, or travelling socially I generally don't. 
But for various reasons I spent all day Saturday in it. 
Across London on the Tube; through a major city; eating at Nando's. The occasion called for it and it seemed right, but again it blurred my boundaries.

After that major day on Saturday I was very late to bed and up early Sunday for two Holy Communions. Not sensible.
So I had no sermon at 9.30am Parish Communion save what was in my head. I hadn't really 'prayed about' either service.
My careful plans to allocate time to important things had been interrupted all week.
So I blundered in. I preached with no notes. It was the least prepared I'd ever been for a Sunday morning.
And yet it was a really great Sunday!
It was joyful. It was enjoyable.
It felt spontaneous and hopeful.

So I'm thinking maybe God is less boundaried than I am.
I'm pondering whether boundaries, those oh so sensible things we have in place (and especially we 'part timers') need to be breached from time to time to remind us the flow comes from the Spirit and He blows where He wills. Some things may be unexpected.

The gospel reading today was about Jesus being hassled and boundaries being breached; the touch of a haemorrhaging woman significantly interrupted his journey to a dying girl. Ritual uncleanness and death.
Jesus didn't hesitate in crossing both boundaries with willing openness.

A little less planning and a little more trusting then.

1 comment:

  1. "the flow comes from the Spirit and He blows where He wills. Some things may be unexpected"

    Love these words. They carry a sense of excitement and adventure. Maybe the congregation sense that as well and it engages them. Maybe your week of not preparing for your sermon was a week of preparing you for saying exactly what God wanted you to say. Maybe...

    I always find it comforting as well to remember that the unexpected to us, is entirely expected to God.

    Thanks for the posting.