June 16, 2005

Summer Day

What's it like being the pastor in a small rural community? Here's what happened yesterday, a not-so-typical day that was, in its own way, typical.

I woke up at 5:00, my mind racing about the preparations I needed to do for my role-play at Vacation Bible School. I tried to go back to sleep, and did for a little while, but at 6:00 I got up. I walked across the street to unlock the church doors and open the windows, to let in some of that cool morning air, hoping that some of it would stick around for awhile in our mostly un-airconditioned building. On the way back across the street, I picked up the morning paper, so that while I'm eating my breakfast I could read about what's going on at the county fair.

At Vacation Bible School, my job is to help the kids reenact the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. (Lacking a 90-foot statue, I cut out a 4-foot piece of cardboard to show how big the toenail on the statue was.) I have fun singing with the kids at the end of the morning, before they go home. Several of them run over to me and put their arms around me as we sing.

After lunch, I have a meeting-by-phone with the regional church office, to talk about scholarships for summer camp. Then, to celebrate the beginning of summer, I take my two boys to the community swimming pool, which opened for the summer the day before.

We walk in and are greeted by lifeguards Alicia and Emily, sisters. Though graduated, I've had them in class when I've substitute taught. I look around at the pool, and notice that I'm the only adult here, the only one, apparently, who can take an hour off at 4:00 in the afternoon. I jump into the deep end to swim some laps (try doing that at a crowded public pool in the big city), and I think to myself, well, the chlorine can't be any worse for me than the herbicides I breathe in when I run along the rice fields.

My swimming is cut short, however, when one of the kids swims up to me and says, "hey, you're the priest, aren't you?"

"Well, actually I'm a pastor, but that's close enough..."

"Yeah, you did Candace & Billy's wedding, huh?"

"Yes I did." Over in the adjacent wading pool, other kids are calling me to join them in a game of "Red Light, Green Light," and then "Froggy Froggy." I join them for a little while, and then it's time to go home. It's been fun, but sometime this week, I've got to write a sermon....


Songbird said...

They just won't write themselves, will they? ;-)

PPB said...

sermon, schmermon, read them this blog!