This is our real work: holding marriages and death, growing lives and lasting achievements, before God in a continuing community of prayer.
—Eugene H. Peterson
Most pastoral work takes place in obscurity, deciphering grace in the shadows, blowing on the embers of a hard-used life.
Pastors stay with their people week in and week out, year after year, to proclaim and guide, encourage and instruct as God works his purposes (gloriously, it will eventually turn out) in the meandering and disturbingly inconstant lives that compose our congregations.
This necessarily means taking seriously, and in faith, the full routines of life. It means witnessing to the transcendent in the fog and rain. It means living hopefully among people who from time to time get flickering glimpses of the Glory but then live through long stretches of unaccountable grayness. This is hard work and not conspicuously glamorous.
But there are frequent interruptions in this work in which the significance blazes all of itself. ...1