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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Relationships are messy.


Yes, another day away from the office and another day of me playing Mr. Fixit.

I happened to noticed the financial report for our church the other evening and noticed water usage at the parsonage was really high. We are pressing the annual budget figure and it's not even July yet and so began an inspection of all water outlets, faucets, and lavatories (does anyone still call these things commodes?).

Yup. Sure enough there was a dripping bathroom sink and a lavatory that was leaking water into the bowl non-stop. These don't seem to look that serious until you consider these leaks over a month's time. Water is running away and the utility bill balloons.

Yesterday, I decided to arrest both water wasters. Fresh springs and seats for the bathroom faucet and "BOOM" no more leak. Taking that success with me to the lavatory made me feel pretty invincible (until I looked inside the water closet). These mechanisms were foreign to me and when I went to the local hardware store they had nothing that looked like what I had... (My uneducated guess is that these internal parts may have been well over 25-30 years old.)

Not having much experience with commodes...I mean lavatories, I decided to try something!

I told Joe, "Well you know the expression 'Go big or go home.'" I made the decision to replace everything in the water closet. Yes, I said everything!

(the old parts on their way to the lavatory place in the sky)

I totally bit off more than this preacher could chew. Not to be thwarted though, I read the instructions and began the long process of tearing the lavatory apart. The water closet had to be removed and then all old stuff was thrown in the sink. The new stuff was installed and what was to be a 20 minute job turned into 3 hours. Do you know what kind of gunky stuff lurks in those water closets. I still have black something or other on my fingers. Messy!

Lately, I have been thinking of my faith and how I express it to others. I question whether I am a compelling image of Jesus Christ to them or am I something else. I have been considering the work involved in building relationships with another person and how long it takes to build trust. I used to think a five minute encounter with someone searching for meaning would be enough, but now I know these journeys are much longer and more involved than first thought. Building relationships and strengthening them can be messy at times and in some situations, one will have to scrap all the old stuff and begin to use new materials and concepts to become effective.

If Christians are to be transforming a broken complex world with the light and love of God and the healing of Jesus, then it will require us to invest time, energy, and resources into our relationships. Be prepared to walk beside others and get dirty. Meet challenges head-on and oh yeah, it's okay to read the instructions (Bible) to gain insights on how to move forward. Think of the disciples Jesus chose and mentored. Even after three years, they weren't clear on all the details of Jesus' ministry and purpose.

"As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the

lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once

they left their nets and followed him." (Mark 1:16-18, NIV)

Drip. Drip. Drip. Oops, gotta go investigate another leak.

PS: Be open. Be willing. Be trainable. Be ready.

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