I don’t know if you’ve missed me, but I’m posting this episode after an absence of more than two months. I’m not going to go into gory details, but I thought I’d take this episode to tell you what’s been going on, and how I hope to go from here.
Before today, the second-last episode of The Basin and Towel Podcast that I posted was on March 24, and I titled it “Five Unexpected Ideas to Help You Prepare for Holy Week.” As I was writing that episode, I did not expect that I would be heading to the Emergency Room on the evening of Holy Thursday and wheeled into surgery in the early afternoon on Good Friday! Turns out I had a perforated diverticulitis, but the surgeon discovered that the perforation had already started to heal over by the time she got to it. So apparently after a couple of quick stitches and a look around, she closed up the laparoscopy and called it a day. Instead of leading worship on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I spent the weekend healing in the hospital and went home on Tuesday of the next week.
Meanwhile, the scheduled Good Friday event was cancelled, and one of our Elders, retired pastor Wayne Giesler, stepped up to volunteer to do the Easter Sunday worship schedule. Although everyone at church was surprised at this turn of events (none more than me!), Easter Sunday at Christ the King Lutheran Church went off without a hitch.
Wayne also stepped up further, and volunteered to do the worship services himself the following week. I told him that I thought I might get back into action the week after that (the third weekend in April), but he kindly persuaded me to let him lead the service and I would just preach. He was right about that, because I was more tired after that than I thought I’d be. We did the same partnership on the fourth weekend in April, and by the first Sunday in May I was able to do the services by myself again.
In the meantime I was healing gradually, getting strength back day by day, and slowly easing back into the schedule. Some meetings got cancelled; some events got postponed; some items on my To-Do list just dropped off for a while. This podcast was one of those.
By the time May rolled around things were almost back to normal, but my wife and I began to plan for a vacation that we had scheduled for the end of May and early June. It was only going to be a ten-day vacation, and the church council was very good about encouraging us to take it “especially” they said “after the April that we’ve just had!” Once again Wayne stepped up lead the worship services, and our organist JoAnne Zurell re-arranged her playing schedule so she could play those two weekends. The vacation was very relaxing and turned out well not only for me and my wife, but for the church as well.
I don’t know about you, but through the years my wife and I have had conversations and even arguments about vacations. Not that we don’t like going on them; it’s just that I don’t like getting ready for them. I’ve always felt that during the two weeks prior to the vacation I have to do double work – not so much the travel and housing arrangements, and the packing – but making sure that the church work that needs to be done for the vacation time, gets done before we go – and that’s on top of the usual church work for the weeks before we go. My wife never quite understood the tension that brings until she became a teacher – then she realized that if she wanted to take time off she had to come up with lesson plans for the substitute! In those times, other things go by the wayside; and this podcast was one of them.
So here we are in mid-June, and I’m finally turning on microphone at the Basin and Towel Podcast again. Besides the opportunity to learn directly about the mercies of God as He used a whole bunch of hospital workers to take care of me in April, and the relaxing reminder of His power and love as my wife and I rode the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls in May, He reminded me of the tender love that flows through the people of God in the community of saints that is called Christ the King Lutheran Church in Lodi, Ohio. I don’t really know what the next several months will bring, but I’m eager to see what God has in store for us.
Meanwhile, I hope the future of this podcast will include some book reviews, some recordings from a pastors’ conference that took place at Christ the King in June, and more reflections and thoughts that may encourage both of us in our ministry, wherever that might be.