lake james campsite

I tried hard during my past week of vacation to maintain a blank mind where all things church were concerned – a much needed mental space after seven months without a real break (and no, I will not treat myself so carelessly again).  But one of the benefits of blankness is that little epiphanies burst into the light, brief moments of clarity which seem to come out of nowhere.  Somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina one of those moments gleamed through the mist, and reminded me of my primary role as the spiritual leader of a community.  Jan describes it here as our “exquisite responsibility to shepherd people towards becoming the people God created them to be.”

Every month I have to complete a report for the Lsynod in which I am serving as an interim minister.  These mercifully brief documents (How many of this?  How much of that?) are remarkable primarily for the tedious effort required of me and for what I can only imagine to be the utter boredom of the reader who must peruse them.  Jean has a much better idea, and I love this post in which she reflects upon what she learned in July: lessons, wise words, and tools and tips.   I think that this would be a terrific spiritual practice to undertake.  In fact, I may add a section to my next report!

My own children’s school years live on only in memory, and it looks as if similar pleasures with grandchildren lie in the distant future.  Thus I now read little about those topics which once consumed my days.  This summer piece by homeschooling mom Cindy is a joyful reminder of all that goes into a creative, energetic family life with a houseful of kids.

The congregation I serve these days uses a bulletin insert with pre-printed prayers (which are often quite lovely).  As my time here expands, I am taking more liberty with additions to the prayers but still — time is limited.  I know that we RevFolks are all over the place in terms of liturgical freedom and restriction. Michelle, helping to draft the weekly prayers for her congregation, reflects on how we decide for whom and for what to pray,

Our camping vacation time was often consumed by efforts to deal with storms – huge lightning and thunderstorms.  We were dry in our tent, but often drenched whenever we emerged, and our picnic tables and fire circles were soaked in water.  Rachel’s poem about summer storms might well have been posted at each of our campsite entrances!

And finally – and it’s not a blog post yet – during our last night in our little yellow tent, after the storm had passed, a screech owl made quite a racket almost over our heads, and was answered by the trill of another owl across the lake.  Call and response in nature!  I just wanted to report on that.

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Rev. Robin Craig is a PC(USA) pastor serving an ELCA congregation in Bay Village, Ohio. She is also a spiritual director, a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and a blogger at http://fragmentsofgrace2.blogspot.com/.

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