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When God Interrupts Ministry

The way pastors work, we easily confuse an outboard motor for the wind of the Spirit. We are God-called but task-driven. We find ourselves up to our eyebrows in earthbound pursuits: drafting worship plans, writing memos, reading minutes, sorting mail, phoning cantankerous parishioners.

In the wake of our religious activity, God gets pushed to the periphery.

I want to be Moses, but I feel like Aaron. I'm the one down in the valley managing camp life. Mount Sinai's lofty crags are someone else's reality. Pastoral work becomes boring, predictable, routine.

Where's the lightning, fire, wind, voice--where's God?

Then I visit Mary.

Today is the first time I will see her in her new home. Just a few days earlier, she was moved from the hospital to this nursing home, a move she dreaded, a move she fought tooth and nail. Mary never planned to spend her golden years in a nursing home.

Providence has turned the tables on Mary. Her stroke partially paralyzed one side of her body. Nor can she speak the way ...

From Issue:Spring 1994: Worship
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