Guilt and Garlic Necklaces
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. – Colossians 3:12 (NRSV)
As a pastor during the pandemic, I tell people I have never worked harder and to less effect. Wherever you may be in your pandemic routines and practices, like me you might be looking back over the last two years and seeing things you could have done differently.
I spent so many hours in meetings for scenarios that never took place. I spent too little time planning for things that popped up at the last minute, which, in hindsight, I should have seen coming. When to go online? When to open?
There are safety measures I wish we had adopted earlier. But some of our precautions now look like the garlic necklaces people used to wear to protect themselves from vampires.
My only consolation is that I was not alone in all this. Our church’s volunteer leaders spent just as much time in those meetings and tortured sleepless nights as I did. (The only difference is that they love Jesus so much they didn’t get paid for it!)
The challenge now is to work together moving forward, and we can’t do that without a healthy dose of self-inflicted humility. None of us were psychic. All of us were wrong about some things and right about others. It’s time to stop keeping score and start working together.
If you are waiting for history to prove you were right, wait on. You may get an answer next month but scientifically speaking, the real answer will come a hundred years from now. Are you going to stay mad until then? You probably won’t live that long.
Clear the way, dear God, clear the way. Amen.
Lillian Daniel is Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church in Dubuque, Iowa. She is the author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To and When “Spiritual but not Religious” is Not Enough.