It is my day off. So, what am I thinking about? Church, of course!
I've discovered a couple of things during my time as a pastor. The first is, I really do just think about God and church and such a whole lot, so I guess I'm in a good vocation. The second thing is, much of my week as a pastor involves "getting things done," i.e., working through a list of tasks that just need to be finished. Meetings, worship orders, visits, answering emails and phone calls, writing the next sermon, and picking up the odds and ends of church life take up a huge share of my time. That is okay; there's a reason why it's called "work." Often, there just isn't much space left for thinking about the big picture.
However, as a pastor (and as a person), keeping the big picture at the forefront is absolutely necessary for me. I need time to reflect and dream. My brain craves that time, hunts for it between the typing press releases and the planning of consistory agendas - and finds it lacking.
It's on Mondays, when I set the tasks aside and declare a moratorium on Microsoft Word, that the parts of my mind that have been pushed into corners creep out and start to play. And despite the fact that it is my day off, they really like to hop and skip around the idea of church, and what I think the church could be.
I think about my time at Camp Fowler, and the kind of community that is formed there, and I imagine a community with similar values and commitments, not hidden away in an Adirondack paradise, but integrated into a world full of people who don't yet share those ideals - but who might see in those values and commitments lived out something they longed for even before they knew it existed.
I think about the people I see in the bars every week, and I imagine a gathering of worship and fellowship where they would feel not just accepted, but wanted, and where they wouldn't have to learn a new language or adopt a new dress code or put on a happy face to feel welcome.
I think about this weekend's wonderful Harvest Festival, and I imagine holding such an event next year not as a fundraiser for the church, but as a service to the community.
I think about a quote I read from Rob Bell: "I love everyone, and you're next," and I imagine what I might do and where I might be if I stopped worrying about criticism and other people's perceptions of me.
Today, my brain has space, and I'm imagining possibilities. Some of them glimmer as a small but growing part of what already is, and some of them seem very distant indeed. But they're there, and I'm glad for Mondays if only because I can let them pay me a visit.