Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What the Holy Spirit is Doing in Our Midst at St. Andrew

Last week, I was supposed to give a report to presbytery on what the spirit has been doing at St. Andrew since I arrived. I’ve written a lot of paragraphs last week, and I just couldn’t write another paragraph. So here is “What the Holy Spirit is Doing in Our Midst at St. Andrew”  
“Why I’m grateful
to God for calling me here,
to the presbytery for accepting me as a member and
to St. Andrew Presbyterian Church for taking a leap of faith
and asking me to be their full-time pastor.”

Arriving November 6, 2013
we drive up thankful in just a light rain.
I move boxes inside, unpacked a couple,
then arrange for a sudden funeral,
for a PNC
extended family.
I locate cartons where everything is (and is not),
preach, pastor, visit, get lost quite a lot.
Chinook winds don’t melt the ice from an early storm
as I was assured they do in the church information form.
And by the way,

Between urgent tasks pastoral
and secretarial
there’s no time for staff to meet.
We have to trust in grace and guesswork for a week
until at last we find
some uninterrupted time
for showing what is where to me who’s just brand-new
so we can work with joy and ease in the office at St. Andrew.
Three people spackle, sand and prime the pastor’s study walls,
I listen to the history of these, our hallowed halls
which are movable and in pods,  once so cutting-edge,
now a little worn, all of them acknowledge.
We remove ceiling tiles and see the wiring for
the radio station here forty years earlier
that the remover himself had installed with care
as a young man when this was St. Andrew Square.
We roll and cut in, while we chat and think,
a lovely color of pale beige and not pink,
while fearing that one coat wouldn’t do,
and we’d  have to do two.  We do.
A wise man installs new outlets before the furniture is moved.
Our backs approved.
And by the way,

Wow, it looks great, we all realize!
Let’s do the fellowship ceiling ten times the size!
With four times the people, we organize and triage
furniture and broken stuff of uncertain lineage.
Then one coat of primer and two coats of paint--
our shoulders and hands call for restraint.
Let’s clear the library of old magazines
still older books and unused machines
and turn it into a room where more than just three
can meet in the name of Christ safely.
Worship Design Team, installation—So cool!
Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, baptismal renewal .
Rehearsals, concerts, and choir (praying twice)
despite the low temps and roads made of ice.
At last, ordinary time, not ordinary but restful--
so we can start planning on how we’ll disciple.
For months our labyrinth was covered by snow.
A thaw let me walk where I’d long longed to go.
And by the way,

I reach into the community by attending many things
League of Women Voters, Not In Our Town – TransBillings;
NIOT and the Black Heritage Foundation
celebrate King with a standing ovation
for a Civil Rights leader clear from Atlanta.
We sing and we pray and we shout Alleluia!
We celebrate how far we’ve come and how much we have to do.
I realize St. Andrew is doing that, too.
At a work day full of touching up and staining,
sanding and patching and drywall taping,
I demonstrated pastoral care
by bringing a ladder to a man on a chair.
Ceiling tile paint sprays straight overhead
so our tired old bodies had nothing to dread.
Despite controversy with Earth Care’s overture --
I moderated the best session meeting EVER !
Everyone left loved including this pastor
despite the long docket and the late hour,
because together we had dwelt deep in God’s word,
talking less than we listened, so the spirit was heard.
And we knew that our three-day-old sign by the way,
brought two unchurched people into Taizé.

Pastor Susan