I can tell you whether the outfits in the diaper bag are clean or dirty. I can tell you the last time Ben ate and the last time that his diaper was changed, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you where my work bag was. This is becoming more and more important as my work bag contains my preaching Bible, and this Sunday, I am preaching.
It has been six weeks since I stood behind the pulpit to deliver a word to God’s people and now the last Sunday in Advent, it’s time for me to become pastor again. I should clarify that being the pastor of a people doesn’t just disappear when you become a mom and take maternity leave or when you take sabbatical, but it does fade or become minimized for a time. It is this fading and minimizing that allows you, as the pastor, to be more fully who you are with the grace and understanding of your congregation. It’s an understanding that you, too, are a human being who has a family, or in the case of being on sabbatical, needs rest and inspiration. It’s this understanding that allowed me to put aside my work bag as we waited and then celebrated Ben’s arrival.
As I ponder what this new life will look like as I prepare to add back the full weight of responsibility that comes with being called pastor, I have all the questions that any working mom does. How is this going to work? Am I always going to feel like I am giving halfway to both or is there some way that being a parent of a newborn and being a pastor can enrich and deepen our journey as a community of faith?
Even when I do locate my work bag, I know that the answers won’t be contained there, but what I do know is that being community together means understanding that all of us have are trying to understand what it means to be committed to follow after Jesus in the midst of being mothers, fathers, spouses, employees, and friends.
And the only way that we can understand how we can be more fully and wholly ourselves is by fellowshipping together around the table, around the altar, and around the Christ child born into human form just like us.