At some point, when talking to St. John’s, I said that I would begin my official ministry on Palm Sunday. In the middle of moving cross-country at the end of Lent, I realized that this may not have been the best idea that I ever had.
But aside from the whirlwind nature of blowing into town, having a huge stack of bulletins land on your desk, and then getting to wade through the busiest liturgical week in the Christian year–there are a lot of good things about starting a new ministry in Holy Week.
(I’m not kidding.)
You get to see all your parishioners right away, and several times in one week, so you can learn people’s names faster. You get several liturgies right in a row, so you get the nuances of a new place under your feet faster. And also, you get all the big, scary traditions out of the way right up front, when you are presumably too new to know better, so if/when you mess up, well, you’re new! You can figure it out next year.
And most of all, it is probably the greatest teacher that you are not in charge that there is. For all of us clergy-types inclined to believe that it is only through our overwork that Christ is crucified and resurrected, moving across the country in the days before will blow that supposition right out of the water. Truly, if you’re brand new–you cannot do it all, because you haven’t a clue what needs doing. You have to rely on the Altar Guild, the musicians, the administrator, the sexton–all the tried and true people who work along side you–and on the power of the liturgy to do the heavy lifting.
Because God shows up, regardless of how frantic and chaotic we choose to be.
(Along those same lines, I am regrettably behind in posting sermons. Today, I hope to get all the Holy Week ones up and running.)