This is tough… not tough like digging ditches tough or “I’ve got cancer” tough… I do have some sense of proportion here. Still, this is tough.
In 28 years of ministry I can only remember missing one Sunday for medical reasons. Nancy was pregnant with Jay, and we packed up and headed to the hospital. It was October 31, 1993. They did send us back home that day, but other than that memorable event, I can’t recall another “sick day” on a Sunday. And, yet, here I sit missing my second Sunday in the opening weeks of 2018 because of the flu/bronchitis.
I’m not a control freak, at least not a full-on freak. I have an incredible staff and super volunteers who will take up my slack. I have full confidence in an elder, who is also a retired pastor, who will preach a solid, biblical message. The problem is that I feel disconnected from my church family. My life is so woven together with theirs that not being there feels really odd. And I’m really glad it does.
I kind of feel sorry for people who can miss Sunday after Sunday and never feel the emptiness of not being with their church family. Somehow they have missed the deep connection into the lives of those they perhaps a decade ago committed themselves to. The have missed the acceptance, the accountability, and the belonging.
I belong – not at a building – not at a service – I belong with those people, and being apart from them is tough. I’m sure that’s not only true for pastors but for members as well.
So… I’ll sit this one out, while praying for Jesus to be exalted and people to draw closer to Him. I’ll take my medicine, wrap up in my blanket, and finish off one box of tissues after another, but Lord willing I’ll be back! See you next Sunday.