Ministry in Context

Finding blessing in the ordinary

The extraordinary season of Lent and Easter is over. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Now we enter into the Easter season, which can seem to be a strangely ordinary season. Not as many festivals. Not such depths, nor soaring heights. Of course, the Ascension is yet to come, but in the lives of most congregations things are calming down a bit as they settle into being Easter people.

If you are midway into your internship year, you may feel this ordinariness in several ways. The congregation and community aren't brand-new to you any more—nor you to them. You have started to develop some patterns of life and ministry, and patterns have a nasty way of turning into ruts. On the other hand, you might be tempted to become a novelty junkie or adventure collector, and feel a bit bored with this internship adventure about now.

I hope that isn't happening with you. But if you feel a tug in that direction, perhaps you can identify with the pastor who lamented that everyday life was harder for him to navigate than the ups and downs of life.

Aware of that tendency in myself, I have always appreciated Gerhard Frost's little book of poems entitled, Blessed is the Ordinary. (Frost was a long-time professor at Luther Seminary). Here is one of those poems that seems particularly pertinent to the internship journey:

I UNDERSTAND

I used to think
that imagination is just for "tripping,"
going places, wild places,
meeting people, wild people,
and for setting goals.

Now I understand
that imagination
is for loving,
for wearing others' shoes,
getting into others' skins.

How can one care
if one can't imagine,
can't see and feel
from the other side?

Imagination is for caring,
serving, helping with the invisible load.
Imagination, the mind's pleasure cruise,
but the heart's workroom.

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