Thursday, 13 October 2016

Collegial Creativity

I spent the first half of this week at our annual Ministers’ Conference.  Within minutes of arrival I felt I was among good friends (some going back almost thirty years!) with an endless supply of conversation because we talked, and talked and talked!!

So much about these three days was positive and affirming; and nothing more so than the last presentation before the closing communion yesterday morning.

One of our colleagues took us through Psalm 55, a Psalm of Lament.  She reminded us of the different types of psalms in the bible: some upbeat and confident whilst others are like Psalm 55 expressing honest, even ‘complaining’ prayer, ‘naming’ life as it really is and asking ‘why’?  Yet every Psalm of Lament in the Jewish Psalter (apart from Psalm 88) finds faith in God by its concluding verses.

Well it was a great and perfectly pitched bible study and then came the ‘activity’!  We split into groups of about eight and together wrote our very own Psalm of Lament.  To be truthful I’m not much of a ‘small groups’ sort of person but I loved our time together yesterday morning.  Our group seemed to ‘click’ very easily and creativity flowed!  The Psalm we came up with is not to be taken too seriously – yet there is an honesty behind the humour.  We entitled it: ‘The Pastor’s Lament’ and I suppose it’s a reflection on our struggle with difficult members of the congregation- and it’s perhaps not surprising that all eight ministers in my group seemed to have the same issues though we serve in different congregations.

Well, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously (and I hope you won’t take this psalm over seriously either!) but I loved this collaborative process of composing a psalm and here’s what we came up with:

I know you’re really busy, but can you fit me in!
I feel tired Lord.
 My faith is challenged by your inaction.
I’m disappointed in you!
I did not want an absentee God!
Day and night my inbox swells with their petty complaints.
If  only they had something worthwhile to moan about.
Strike down the grumblers Lord.
Empower the spam filters.
And send the complainers off to the Anglicans!
But you Lord called me here.
Help me to be loving and gracious.
Give me, O Lord, your heart.
For you never tire in doing good.

Well – we only had fifteen minutes!!!

Best wishes,

Ian

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