Busy day today, and realised again that I am trying to do too much when i missed a meeting this morning because i forgot! At least I missed some of it, until i got a call saying 'you're meant to be here.' My mind was filled with funerals, (other) meetings, memorial stones, prayer (good thing), Annual meetings (have six of them to do for my parishes over the next few weeks), Mothering Sunday (this coming Sunday in the UK) and lots of other pastoral, theological and generally churchy things. Alongside this my little man (aged 2) got walloped with a hoover yesterday (his big sister trying hard to play cleaning up) this has split his front tooth and he is obviously in some discomfort, he didn't sleep so well, so neither did we.
And the dog puked very nastily too in the kid's playroom...
My mind was on other things.
The biggest difficulty in ministry, perhaps in any kind of living these days, is the number of pressures which come from every direction. In my job there are admin tasks (my weakness), pastoral (good and bad, from weddings and baptisms to funerals and sickness visits), teaching/preaching preparation (did a long and convoluted talk this evening which took a fair amount of preparation and may be posted sometime soon), worship/event co-ordination, prayer, and generally 'being nice' and getting out and about to see folk. In all of these roles my gifts (or lack of them) manifest themselves in different ways.
As a minister my concern is for the wellbeing and wholeness of others. I believe that Christian faith is a holistic faith - ie it is concerned with every part of life - and therefore i believe that integrity and bringing our faith to life in everything we do, think and say is crucial. Integrity is overused in Christian circles, in that it has become loaded with a variety of meanings, but put simply it is about keeping all the parts together, not compartmentalising our faith or having any part of our lives separate from our faith.
That is the goal of Christian living or as i put in my last sermon, 2 Corinthians 10.5 talks of 'bringing every thought captive to Christ'.
I think all Christians are in danger of dis-integration when we fail to bring the pieces of our lives together in faith, for instance when a certain relationship or our job or anything falls outside of the dominance of Christ. In ministerial terms i think the difficulties of holding all the parts of our ministry together, some of which may not actually be our gifts, is another way in which we can fragment, or dis-integrate.
I see this as my greatest potential danger, that i will just fall to bits and not be able to get all these things together again. When i am this busy i know my memory fails, i get tired and run down and I don't perform to the best of my abilities. It's not that i feel, at present, that it is all too much or that I am in danger of breakdown - but i can see that parts of my ministry are suffering because the whole isn't quite together due to overload. Not sure why I feel I want to write this, at present it feels relatively academic - maybe it's good to reflect on this things before the brown smelly stuff hits the speedy swirling bladey thing. or whatever.
Taking baby boy to the dentist tomorrow - or rather lovely wife is as I am doing another funeral... Will let you know what happens. I mean, how can they do anything with a 2 year old at the dentist?