Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to read a book. A whole book, in one go! Well, nearly one go. It took a couple of days, firmly esconsed in the incredibly beautiful State Library of Victoria. I had spent time with colleagues in retreat, hearing stories of “Weaving Connections”, and of the year that’s passed since we shared our faith adventure in England. Now it was time for me to be by myself for a bit.
The book itself turned out to be ok but not all that special. Called Ministry as an Art: Exploring Voluntary and Professional Church Leadership (by Clair Woodbury and Clark Saunders), it didn’t have too much that was new to me. I knew this as I started to read.
What it offered, though, was an invitation to read, to think, and to draw together a whole heap of things that have been going around my head for a long time, as I do ministry at Hobart North and within the central Hobart UCA. This was more important than the content of the book itself.
I had been aware for a while that I didn’t need more content, more stuff to process. What I needed was time, and the discipline, to just ‘be’ for a while, to sit with the many “G.O.D. stories” that are part of my/our life and ministry, to remember that life and ministry isn’t all about what I do. This last year or so has been very busy, and I had lost the ability to practice what I preach about seeing the holy Spirit at work among us, about creative and missional imagination, about giving my soul space to sing!
In that bustling, people-filled, and yet peaceful library, as impressive a ‘cathedral’ as any church building, I read a book. I watched the people all around me, some studying for exams, some avoiding study, some people reading for pleasure, some there just to look around.
I read, thought, dreamed, planned, got excited, and dozed once or twice!
And my soul began to be restored…
As I wrote this I had to resist the urge to draw out a ‘moral’ or point to the story, then remembered that the story IS the point of the story!
The End (not)