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Meeting Together Apart

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I sat in my car with my five children, rain steadily pelting the roof, the windows slowly fogging up with our warm air inside. We had only a limited view of the other cars around us in similar situations. My husband was leading a drive-in church service and had partially retreated to the open door of the church to avoid the rain. We could see neither him nor our fellow worshipers on Sunday morning, but we could hear him over a local radio frequency that had a limited range barely reaching the edge of the parking lot. This has become the new normal. Drive-in church. And I admit, it’s a bit of a letdown. My five-year-old, who was never terribly well behaved in church anyhow, no longer has to sit on my lap during the service, so he slides on and off his seat in the car. My other kids, who are generally quite well behaved in church, now have the freedom to whisper little side comments throughout the service or slouch back in their seats or take off their shoes. Sitting in our car doesn’t have the same effect as sitting in a physical church building with other congregants around us and the organ accompanying us for hymns. Listening over a radio frequency just isn’t the same.

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Drive-Thru Communion

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Three months ago, the idea of drive-thru communion would have been absurd. Most people would snort and roll their eyes, thinking that this is just one more case of how busy our society has become, always looking for convenience. But since the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-thru communion has become fairly common, people literally lining up to receive the body and blood of Christ from a masked and gloved pastor. Really, it almost sounds comical, like something you’d see in a bad movie. But in the absence of an actual church service, pastors have had to get creative in ministering to their flocks, and church members have had to rethink the way they worship.

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To the Mom Whose Kids Misbehaved in Church Yesterday

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Dear Mom Whose Kids Misbehaved in Church,

I heard your kids yesterday in church. Like, through the entire service. I saw the displeased glances people exchanged and the dirty looks a few people shot your way.  I know you were embarrassed and frustrated and probably wish you’d just stayed home. I’m sure you personally didn’t get much out of the service. Perhaps you left early to avoid people making comments to you about their behavior afterward. But I wish you’d stayed, because I have something very important to tell you: Thank you.

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The Secret to Success

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It’s been said that writing is a lonely pursuit, and yet, in the end, it couldn’t be done without a lot of team effort. There’s a reason most books have a long list of people in the acknowledgments section at the back. Publishing a book is complicated. Writing the manuscript is the easy part. Okay, maybe not easy, per se, but enjoyable at least. I love writing the story, arranging the plot like pieces of a puzzle to reveal the finished picture. It’s challenging and time-consuming, but I enjoy it. Once that’s done, you might think I’m pretty much finished. And you would be wrong. Finishing the manuscript is only the first step in a very long process, and can only be accomplished with the help of many others along the way.

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The “Lazy” Days of Summer

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Whoever coined the phrase “lazy days of summer” obviously didn’t have a summer like mine. I could make my own version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Between five kids home from school, four summer reading programs, three weddings, two sets of houseguests, and a cross-country vacation just before school starts again, there’s nothing lazy about this summer. This past week was a real doozy. I played for a wedding last weekend, and the rest of the weekend was devoted to an out-of-town baseball All-Stars tournament. Monday ushered in VBS week, for which I led music. Friday was the final day of VBS, plus the closing program, as well as my daughter’s birthday. To say it was a crazy week is sort of an understatement. On Saturday, when we all finally had nothing going on for once, my three-year-old, who never naps, was so exhausted he just fell asleep on the couch. Clearly the busy pace had caught up to him at last. He needed rest.

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Where is God, Anyhow?

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It was a confounding problem. It was dinnertime, there were over 5000 hungry people, and they were in a desolate location with little to no food immediately available. So the disciples naturally urged Jesus to send everyone away to fend for themselves. They looked to Him to make things right, and He did. But not at all in the way they were expecting. He told them calmly, “You give them something to eat.” Um, Jesus? All we have here is five loaves and two fish. That won’t even feed the 13 of us. Still, Jesus meant what He said. He directed everyone to sit down on the grass, blessed the food, and had the disciples distribute it to everyone there. Incredibly, everyone was fed, and there were 12 baskets of leftovers. Way to go, Jesus! And clearly, yes, He deserves all the glory for the miracle. But there’s something we’re missing if we stop there—the role the disciples played.

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When You Don’t Get Anything out of Church

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“I didn’t get a thing out of that.”

These words were spoken by a resident of a nursing home some years ago when I was in college. A group of students went to a local nursing home every Tuesday evening to sing with the residents and lead them in a short devotional time. One week after the Bible message, a man who was hard of hearing turned to his neighbor and announced rather loudly, “I didn’t get a thing out of that!” We laughed about it then, and it still brings a smile to my face now. Clearly, he meant he couldn’t hear the message. But have you ever felt that way after church or a devotion? Like you didn’t get anything of substance out of it? And that begs the question, is it even worth it?

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What a Pastor’s Wife Wants You to Know

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(Originally posted on Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife on June 2, 2017)

I know, I know. You’ve read it all before. You get it. Pastors’ wives are sick of living in a fishbowl. They don’t want to be compared to the former pastor’s wife. They’re tired of the expectation that they’ll do everything from leading VBS to starting a women’s Bible study to doing secretarial work for free. They hate the stereotype that their children must be perfectly behaved or know all the answers in Sunday school. You know all these things. You’ve seen other blog posts to that effect. And it’s a good and helpful thing when congregations realize this. But honestly, too many articles of that nature makes us PWs seem sort of…well, resentful. So please allow me to share a few other things I’d like parishioners to know that may help you understand your pastor’s wife (and your pastor) better. Continue reading “What a Pastor’s Wife Wants You to Know”

Disastrous Devotions

I don’t know why I even bother with devotions.  Almost without fail, something disastrous happens.  Family devotions are never peaceful and reverent.  We have at least one child complaining about doing them in the first place, another who is interrupting, another who wanders away, and one who obviously isn’t listening to a thing.  Inevitably, either Mom or Dad gets mad and yells at them to listen.  Not exactly how I envisioned  our “quiet time.”

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