Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday night... "If I were a carpenter.."

Three of the seven shelf units we made.
One unit in a wardrobe.
If I were a carpenter...
On Saturday for most of the day my wife and I did carpentry, or to be more specific, joinery.  On the Night Shelter Trust we are planning to open up a building for medium term accommodation. We are in the process of furnishing the rooms. Each room has a big wardrobe so we decided to make a set of shelves for each room. I had made storage shelves for the night shelter some years ago which are no longer needed. On Saturday I used the timber in these to make seven sets of shelves. I enjoy the planning, the plain old physical work and the completion of such a project.  I am not really good at doing a nice finishing job, too impatient, but I do enjoy the ability to plan such a project and use tools successfully. I enjoyed plumbing as a trade, loving beating, bending and shaping copper pipe and working with metal. After 13 years of working on Habitat for Humanity sites, I am sure I would have loved being a carpenter. Constructing things is great for the inner person. To steal the words of a song from the "Fiddler on a roof" I ask God, "Would it have spoiled some vast eternal plan, if I had been a carpenter?"
Oh... now onto a sermon..?
We arrived home from our carpentry not long before 6 p.m. I had to settle down to work on the Church newsletter and then work on what remained of my sermon. .. I had done a heap of reading and stewing during the week, but had not settled on a clear theme. As I sat down to work I had "writer's block."  I was simply too physically tired to shape anything.  Nothing really gelled. By the end of the night, I had "mechanically" worked out a sermon, but was not happy with it. I could present it, it was acceptable, but I had no real "fire in the belly" about it.  I went to bed and slept quite soundly for a Saturday night. When I rose and indeed while I showered, as packed up and drove into the Church and even while doing the power points the sermon gelled to one I wanted to share.  I hate leaving it so late. I have known ministers who get up on Sunday morning and prepare their sermons. I cannot do that. Often on a Sunday night I begin the process of background reading for the next Sunday's sermon. There are several stages one has to go through to do a really good job and properly fit the sermon/service to the people you are speaking with. I was relieved when I had some good feedback after today's effort. I really find that the upfront stuff in ministry is quite stressful for me these days for a number of reasons. One reason is that I am always having to watch what I say in case I offend. I guess I am yearning for freedom from "being nice and pastoral" constraints. In an unhealthy way, I am looking forward to retirement and unlike a lot of ministers I have known,  plan on really retiring from all upfront activity. I will have done my dash.  These days I wish I were a carpenter!

The three prints all framed - an appreciated gift.
Our gift...
In my last post I mentioned that we received a gift of appreciation. It was from our daughter and son-in-law in appreciation of the work we are doing on their house.  When we were on our big overseas trip a couple of years ago we bought a print in many of the cities we visited. We brought these home and were planning to glue them to some black card and hang them somewhere around our old house. My daughter and son-in-law had come and stolen three of these. They got them framed and left these on our kitchen table for us to discover when we got home on Friday night. We have been sitting here tonight thinking about where we will hang each one.
Disturbing marriage annulment...
On the front page of the Otago Daily Times on Saturday there was the story of a woman being contacted by the Catholic Church because her ex-husband was wanting to marry a Catholic woman and had applied to the Church for an annulment of their marriage. I have encountered this process before in chaplaincy conversations. I think it is hurtful, encourages lies and is a waste of time and money. I have some great Catholic friends who I love and respect, but this sort of religious hogwash is, to me, not in line with the way of Jesus. It is old hat! The front page article about it would damage the image of Christianity in our community. It made the church look ridiculous and centuries out of date.
Tomorrow I have a day off... and give blood.
Unfortunately I cannot sleep in tomorrow. I promised to give blood earlyish in the morning. Because of my medications and blood pressure it is much more of a hassle giving blood than it used to be.  I understand that they need all that they can get, so I'll get up early and do my duty. You used to get a little sticker saying; "Be nice to me, I gave blood today." I could do with one of those.

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