On Sunday, we not only had an interactive art project with a manger and cloth strips; we also decorated gingerbread between services.
And then, we did this:
That's our pastor in the middle with the blue stole over his white robe. We offered a prayer of blessing and protection before he left for his month-long sabbatical.
He's actually here through Christmas Eve, but it made more sense to do the blessing on a less hectic Sunday.
We've blessed him before, so it wasn't completely unfamiliar. Before his sabbatical a few years ago, I led the prayer on Christmas morning, and we sent him on his way. I led the prayer this year too.
This year, we also invited his spouse to come forward. As part of the sabbatical, they will take a trip to Israel, and so we also included prayers for their protection.
I prayed that our pastor be able to experience rest and rejuvenation. I prayed that the congregation left behind also have that gift. My voice wavered a bit--how much do I yearn for rejuvenation!
I like that we're a congregation that prays in many ways. If I'm being honest, I also like the fact that we pray at orderly times--no one is slain in the spirit and praying in tongues at our church. But I also like that our congregation will come forward to lay on hands, if everyone is comfortable with that--which is part of the prelude to prayer time that I included. We are a church that is careful with touching and boundaries--I think it's a crucial part of being an institution these days.
This morning, I'm offering similar prayers for us all: let 2018 be a year of rejuvenation. There's work to be done, and so many of us are so tired. Let us get some crucial rest--but let us use that rest to do the hard work of restoration.
feeling the feelings…
1 year ago