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2004-06-05 12:18 AM
reflection from the road
We are neck-deep in pre-planning for the conference I'm helping lead. I finally have the prayers and liturgy written for the three days I was responsible for. It was a relief to turn those in; now everyone else can do their work and I don't feel like they're waiting on me. The sermons, on the other hand...
It is a little unsettling to be in this place before the teeming masses arrive. I've only really experienced this conference center when it's been overrun--with hundreds of people, usually. There's a certain dilapidated gravity to the place when it's empty. This afternoon I lay down on one of the pews in the main auditorium. The auditorium is round, and its wooden ceiling with steel girders all forming a point in the center reminds me of an old-time carousel. I can almost imagine it spinning, awash with colors and music. Sunday night it basically will be.
Preaching is the easiest job at this conference, I'm convinced. Keynoters have the daunting task of providing 45 minutes of captivating, stimulating yet accessible content--first thing in the morning. Recreation leaders are expected to be effervescent and perky, and are responsible for planning several occasions for, well, recreation, each day. Music leaders have to be "on" both morning and evening. Preachers... well, preachers pour their hearts out, but they only have a 20 minute window. Worship comes wedged between dinner and various fantastic evening events that most of the kids can't wait to get to--talent shows, concerts, scavenger hunts, screenings of Finding Nemo. People enjoy worship, but it's not why they came here. For so many youth, worship is something to be endured. It's a sad reality and a testament to how folk in my business have fallen down on the job.
In case you haven't noticed, this is all a classic case of minimizing. If I think too much about the task ahead I get antsy. People have been so supportive leading up to this?--"I know you can do it" is a typical affirmation. Trouble in that statement is the word "it"--clearly there is some-*thing* to be done here. What *is* It? What makes you think I can do "It," when I don't even know what "It" is? I'm not sure there is an It, but I appreciate the sentiment. God will do God's business, through me or in spite of me. In the meantime I'm having fun, and truth be told, while I'm walking around muttering "What the hell am I doing here," what trumps that is: "This is exactly where I'm supposed to be." This is what I do. Doctors doctor, accountants account, plumbers plumb, and preachers preach.
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