It's Saturday, and this aftermoon I am leading a memorial service for a lady who was near and dear to my heart. It is times like these that make pastoring weigh heavy on my heart--but no, I wouldn't change what I do for anything. I think that people don't realize the honor they pay their pastor when they allow us into their families at the most sacred moments: births, weddings, hospitalizations, anniversaries, and even deaths. These are the times that are most sacred and most intimate in a family's life, and to allow an outsider in is a sign of honor, of love, of trust, and respect. I can only pray that I live up to it all.
A seminary professor once said we shouldn't get too close to our flock--for in doing so we open oursleves not only to their hurts, but to the pain of eventually leaving. My response was, and is, that if I don't hurt when they hurt, cry when they cry, laugh when they laugh, experience their joys as well as their pains, then I havn't really been much of a pastor. Yes, I have both experienced and shared a lot of pain; but I have also experienced and shared a lot of joy. I have wept. I have rejoiced. And through it all, I have experienced, and hopefully shared, the love of God in Christ.