Drinking from a Firehose

drinking from the firehoseDuring the past week, I feel like I have been drinking from a firehose. Friday after work (March 8th), Jolynn and I drove hurriedly up to Oklahoma to be with my mother-in-law, Maxine Mitchell (for whom I ask your prayers along with prayers for Jolynn), who was hospitalized and had to move to a nursing home with skilled care. After spending Saturday and Sunday dealing with looking for a place, offering love and care, and following up on medical options, I caught a 6 a.m. flight from Oklahoma City to DFW where I caught my original flight to Nashville, Tennessee for a meeting of the Path 1 Team. Path 1 is the name of the United Methodist Churches’ (in the United States) focus on “new places for new people.” It is attached to the General Board of Discipleship (whose General Secretary is our own Rev. Karen Greenwaldt – she would want me to pass on her greetings and support). In two days of meetings we received great reports. Path 1 exceeds its goal of 650 new churches in the U.S. over the last quadrennium. The final total was 683! This represents a 406% growth over the previous quadrennium! And, we engaged in deep advanced planning for new church development to reach its goal of 1,000 new churches in this quadrennium. It is a great and godly work. I got home late Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I spent time in reverse mentoring (a younger clergy person mentors me!) and then dove into afternoon meetings dealing with worship plans for this coming Annual Conference. In between I tried to catch up on my email and snail mail. (If you haven’t heard from me yet I beg your patience. As of this writing, I am 71 emails behind and a stack of snail mails.) Wednesday evening I attended a dinner sponsored by the Texas Methodist Foundation. It was the opening of an 8:30 to 2:30 meeting on Thursday, which involved laity who have held senior executive positions dialoging with leadership from the Texas Methodist Foundation (President Tom Locke, Senior Consultant Gil Rendle, and Vice President of Leadership Ministry Lisa Greenwood) and myself as episcopal leader. It was a tremendous time of learning and garnering insight from folks who have forgotten more than I’ll ever know. Wednesday mid- to late-afternoon I tried to catch up on email and write two blogs. Wednesday evening involved a trip to Dallas to visit a CTC clergy person in the hospital. After some more email work on Friday morning, I headed out to Glen Lake Camp and Retreat Center for a Taize Group retreat that finished up on Saturday. Sunday I visited one of our churches. I save about 10 Sundays a year to visit churches all over the Central Texas Conference unannounced. I want to experience what a lay visitor would experience when they visit a church. Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I try to take off (my Sabbath). Monday afternoon will find me teaching a PLD group and participating in a conference phone call for one of the boards I am on. I confess that I love the work I am engaged in! And yet, I feel like I am drinking out of firehose. What about you? I shared the above narrative not brag or complain but to invite reflection. I find my experience is common to both lay and clergy. We live in a culture and at a pace that is unsustainable. It reminds me of the importance of Sabbath and rest. How about you? Do you live with the awareness that the commandment to honor the Sabbath hasn’t been repealed?