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Sunday, July 05, 2009

sabbatical fruit - week 9 - retreating... in a good way

Wow - 9 weeks of 12 have flown by!

This past week was good in every way. I progressed significantly on the music recordings, adding electric guitar to a number of songs. I also got the proof of the new study book, The Breadth of Worship, out to several people to edit and review for me. And I got out on the bike several times - three different outings of 5-15 miles, which felt GREAT.

I had also decided, for personal reasons, not to pursue the novel I started in the Spring. But, encouragement from my daughter (for whom I was writing it) have convinced me to try to finish. It won't happen by the end of sabbatical, but I am excited about it again. I let her read the first three chapters (all I've written) and she really wants to hear how the story turns out. So, hopefully, we'll have The Gift in time for Christmas!

I'm finishing this week at Montreat at the Presbyterians for Renewal "Christian Life Conference." Three other members of the Good Shepherd worship team are with me and we are deeply enjoying leading music for the 500+ person conference. I am particularly enjoying Dr. Kenneth Bailey, who is the morning Bible teacher. He spent his life and career teaching Biblical studies in the Middle East and his direct knowledge of that culture opens up so many facets of the Biblical text. The conference runs through Tuesday, so I'll have a half-week on my return to get back to recording.

I can sense the... what shall I call them... opportunities :) of the Fall awaiting me. I am excited to share with the congregation what I have been doing and learning. Through these sabbatical experiences I also believe God is preparing me for the coming months and years of ministry. I look forward to seeing that unfold. I'm resisting the temptation to get into planning for the Fall (or even August), knowing what a flood of work will be waiting. But I'm not dreading it; rather, I'm excited to jump back into life and ministry post-sabbatical. Hopefully, that is the sign of a healthy sabbatical!

I imagine the last three weeks will pass in a rush. There is still much I'd like to accomplish, but I've also come to peace with letting things progress at the pace they need. So, some of these projects may extend into the Fall and beyond. That is fine and good. Spending all this time on projects I love has strengthened my call to ministry - I don't wish I were doing this full-time, but am still convinced deeply of my call to ministry. And yet, I also see the great value of building time for these pursuits into my personal life. Music and writing (and exercise) are so life-giving and renewing, and I need that to continue to be at my best.

I'm writing all that down so I won't forget. Ha! (and if I do, just refer me to this post!)

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