[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of posts we’ll be featuring by the Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in May.]
For 15 years, I have worked 48 Sunday mornings each year. That is 720 Sundays out of 780. The vast majority of these 720 Sundays working have been spent leading worship (other Sundays were spent on mission trips, continuing education, retreats, etc). That means that in my 15 years as a pastor, I have only had 60 lazy Sunday mornings.
Now I have enjoyed my few lazy Sundays. Sometimes I go visit other churches. Sometimes I hang out at home. Sometimes I am visiting family in Wisconsin or Texas. Every once in a while, I will go to a coffee shop wherever I am, and I am often startled by all the people there, reading the newspaper, meeting with friends, having breakfast with family. All these people having lazy Sunday mornings.
I wonder what it must be like to have two weekend days off in a row every week. I wonder what my family life would be like if we had most Sundays to ourselves. Sometimes I am envious. (Here where I insert my awareness that most families don’t actually have many lazy mornings at all, but the grass is always greener.)
Right now as I write this, I am having one of these lazy Sunday mornings. In fact, this is the second one in a row. Next Sunday will be a lazy Sunday morning. And the next. And the next. In reality, I don’t really know when I won’t have a lazy Sunday morning, though it will be many weeks possibly.
Last night, I was sitting at a wedding reception with some of my church members, and I felt at home. I was with my people, at least a small group of them. I realized how much I miss my busy Sunday mornings. I miss my busy Sunday mornings because I miss my church. On a healthy day, leading worship, which is something I love to do, exhausts me, and right now, I know that leading worship would zap all of my limited energy. But still….
The silver lining in all this is that I am feeling to the depths of my being the importance of community and of worship. Pastoring is not just a job for me. Leading worship is not routine. Being a part of a community of faith is not something that affects only part of my life. It is my life. Not just in the can’t-leave-work-at-work kind of way (okay, there is some of that). But mostly in the I-carry-it-with-me-everywhere kind of way.
Worship isn’t really something we “go” to. Church isn’t just a building or a group of people. One doesn’t “join” the people of God. Being the church is who we are and all people are already the People Of God.
Worship is the tangible reminder of this. Worship isn’t busyness. It is being.