Despite all the craziness in church, I have gone back to serving a congregation. And coming out of retirement to do it. This is only for a while, since our minister is on medical leave, and will (I hope) be back by September.
There is a very real difference between sitting in a pew and being "up front." The building hasn't changed. The people around me are the same, since this is the congregation with which I regularly worship. But the viewpoint is different. And the expectations are different. People expect, reasonably, that I will have creative thoughts to share with them about how we behave as Christians in the 21st century. And I keep working these things out, myself. And sharing what I can.
I must admit that, while this has been challenging, it has also been exciting. I feel that I have finally come to the maturity I had hoped to reach as a minister. I have been working on this for a long time. I was getting close to this just before I ran into health problems. Now, I'm healthier, and happier. And the pieces are coming together. I'll write more about this in coming weeks.
Overall, this has been a good experience. While I am sad that our minster is unwell, at least I have been able to help with some things that I can do. This is, after all, how a church works; people share various skills, and those complement each other.
In July, the church closes, and we worship with a neighbouring congregation. So I will be on holidays. In August, we open again, and carry on. I expect things will be good.