May 7th, 2019

hound of heaven

On approaching the second anniversary of my retirement

I was asked yesterday evening by a couple of Council leaders how I was adjusting to retirement. Did I miss it (meaning, active pastoral ministry)? I replied that I didn't miss the job, but the job is not the mission, and the mission goes on. I now have a new approach to helping fulfill the mission, and it doesn't involve the job I had for so many years. After all, the job was important, but only as a means to an end.

Since retiring, I have continued to do some ministry. I have preached a few times, celebrated communion now and then, acted as chaplain for various Scout gatherings, led music for VBS, counseled God & Me twice, and am writing a book. I am also active in clergy stuff and denominational leadership. I'm as busy as I want to be or need to be. But it is no longer my job to deal with the constant, pressing work, the 24/7/365-ness of being a pastor. I enjoyed many of the things I did -- they certainly outweighed the things that made me grind my teeth. But there comes a time to move on to other things.

I refuse to get over-excited anymore about the probable breakup of The UMC. The ice is shifting, the glacier is crumbling, and the pent-up waters will soon be released to reshape the landscape. I can neither forestall it nor hurry it up. And I am at peace with myself, so I'll see what's to do once the cataclysm is over. I doubt that I will be called upon to pastor again in whatever new form of Methodism I wind up in, but I may indeed be called to some kind of leadership again to build the future. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have a house to build and two young boys who need Grandbear to be all things wise and wonderful for them. I am in good health, but at my age all warranties have expired. I am hoping for some adventures yet, but I can't daydream about some distant future. The time to do these things is now, and I dare not encumber myself with responsibilities that would not only drain my energy, but get in the way of what is truly important for me to accomplish.

I remain the Lord's servant -- "but they also serve who only stand and wait."