So I grudgingly finished most of the items on the to do list, which was originally intended to help me remember what I needed to get done, but which really turned into a glaring reminder of what I should be doing instead of whatever it was I was actually doing. Those items not yet done do not need to be done until next week. So they'll be a glaring reminder for me when I get to the office on Tuesday.
The top item, and most important for my ability to remain as an intern in this congregation, was finishing the sermon for this weekend, on John 3.1-17. At first I was a bit excited about being able to write about God so loving the world that God sent Jesus, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but be given eternal life. Because Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be redeemed through him. That is true Gospel, my friends. And I got to preach on it! But then I began to think. John 3.16 is a VERY POPULAR verse. EVERYONE knows it. It is often quoted as people's favorite Bible verse. I began to get a wee bit intimidated by the whole thing. Instead of an opportunity for true Gospel preaching, it kind of became a large pile of rocks in front of me. The goal then became merely to scale this large rock formation, just to get over it and get it done with. Or at least that is how it felt to me, in the midst of writing the sermon. Now I don't doubt God's ability to work through anything, and I hope that God worked through my words. It wasn't a bad sermon, I don't think, just not one of my finer ones, and not one befitting the wonderful Gospel opportunity that I was given with this text. So I'll think about looking at it this evening, but right now I'm kind of mentally tapped, and don't think that any revisions I might make on it at this time would be improvements. So I'll probably preach it again (and again... two services tomorrow) and see how it goes. Won't say that it won't get revised... I have a way of revising as I preach. Although if you asked my supervisor he might think that I don't, because he thinks I'm too dependent on my manuscript. This coming from a man who works out what he's going to preach probably the evening before he preaches and then doesn't write anything down... Of course anything in comparison will be too dependent on a manuscript!!!
So... random interlude here. I was thinking about when I was in college, and this one day I was sitting in my campus pastor's office and I saw a brochure for the Lutheran Deaconesses. I took it off the shelf, and I was looking it over, and I turned to my pastor (who was a raging feminist) and I said to her, "You know, if this were an all male organization, people would be up in arms about the inequality and they'd be trying to force them to open their organization to men." My campus pastor looked at me and said, "That's probably true." So, continuing, I said, "Well, isn't it only fair that the Deaconesses should let men into their community? I think I want to try to become a Deaconess." She looked at me, smiled her smile that always kind of gave me the message that I was being an ass, but that she was getting a kick out of it, and said "If you tried, I would definitely support you." Granted, I never did try to join the Deaconesses. But sometimes I still think that it would be a hoot. I could be the first male Deaconess. And of course I WOULD MAKE people call me a Deaconess. Men have been deacons for centuries. That I know of, no man has been a Deaconess. Of course, I also understand that Deaconesses came about when only men could be ordained, and so the community of Deaconesses opened doors for women to be active and leaders within the church. Now that women are allowed to be ordained in the ELCA, you don't hear about the Deaconess community as much anymore (although two of my seminary professors are members of the community and one fellow student is on her way). So really there is no need for a man to become a Deaconess, because men can and always have been able to be ordained.
Want to learn more about the Lutheran Deaconess community? Click here
to learn about the Lutheran Deaconess Association, which I believe spans across the ELCA/Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod divide. Click here
to learn about the ELCA Deaconess Community (which is the one I considered joining because I did not know about the other one, at the time.
Anyway, I'm finished for the evening. I think I might go eat some junk food, drink some water (so I can pretend I'm being healthy), continue reading my new book "Bird by Bird," and pretend that it doesn't suck so much to live in a large house by yourself. And also I'll be pretending that I'm not a slob.