Today's service was one of those where it felt good to be a minister. Probably I should say I don't think I've experienced one where it felt bad to be a minister, but most of the time they just 'are' - neither especially good nor especially bad.
It did not get off to a good start. The stand-in caretaker and I arrived to find the school hall totally cluttered, with both fire exits obstructed (mutter mutter) and both fire extinguishers inaccessible (double mutter mutter; you simply cannot get away with such things when you have former professional risk assessors hiring your premises!). The PA system we usually lash into had been removed/replaced, the screen was nowhere to be found and the place was a mess. We set to and arranged some chairs in a circle. I then set up the 15" monitors I usually use for those who can't stand, and the laptop screen had to act as a third, and then plugged in my medium power computer speakers - necessary because we were using the Operation Christmas Child DVD (I could have lived without the technology for words because we always have some sheets as well...).
We were thin on the ground - holidays and impending hospital visits meant several folk were absent, but one person who came last week had enjoyed it so much they came back!
As we sang the various hymns and songs, I found myself mentally transported to various special or significant services or events. Looking around the congregation, it was clear that some powerful feelings were stirred and the free flowing tears here and there suggested both safety and release.
The two Bible readings chosen were interesting - the call of Samuel from 1 Samuel 3, and the Lukan feeding of the five thousand. It was fun thinking on my feet, during the three minutes it takes to sing a hymn, what I would draw from these as a 'thought' - but it all seemed to flow quite well and to connect with the launching of our shoebox appeal.
At the close of the service, we held hands and said the grace and someone who always does this with eyes tightly closed actually half opened them!
We drank tea, cleared up - leaving hall with at least one clear fire door (the other things were outwith our control to correct!)- and went home. The caretaker thanked us for tidying up.
I unloaded all the technology back into my office (most of it is mine anyway) decided I need to look on Ebay for another secondhand flat screen monitor and reflected that it had been a good service, and yes, it felt good to be a minister.
For much of the afternoon the rain had hammered down, but as we left school/church the sky cleared and the sun shone. As I sneaked off to the corner shop for some milk, I found myself calling to mind a childhood hymn (that actually makes very little sense when I stop to think about it) which seemed somehow to express some of what I was feeling:
Glad that I live am I,
That the sky is blue.
Glad for the country lanes
And the fall of dew.
After the sun the rain,
After the rain the sun:
This is the way of life
Til the work is done.
All that we need to do
Be we low or high
Is to see that we grow
Nearer the sky.
Most of the time life just ticks along, but today I am conscious of being glad to be alive.