I was a really good waitress.
Every good waitress knows that the front of the house and the kitchen have to work in harmony together. It is probably best that diners in fine restaurants are blissfully unaware of the heat and the unloveliness of the kitchen. Good chefs make great meals. Good waitresses serve up great meals while creating a sense that there is nothing but peace in the kitchen.
So now I am a parish pastor. It is a job not unlike that of a waitress. My desire is that people who worship at the church I serve can be undisturbed by the clank of the liturgical pots and pans that go into cooking up worship and life together.
I am glad I am in the front of the house in this ministry business. Because truthfully, after three days of being at General Conference, I am not sure I ever want to enter the kitchen of the United Methodist movement again.
Today Rule 44 was defeated. After hours of technical difficulties with voting apparatus and points of order and amendments and heart-felt testimony, it seems the people called Methodist are not willing to talk to each other. We seem more inclined to talk at each other using Robert’s Rules as shield.
So it went. I only wept once.
The rest of the day was spent in legislative committees. That Book of Discipline that we turn to in the ordering of our life? Every line of it is up for editing and polishing and so committees are digesting thousands of legislative petitions and after sitting on the floor of one of the break-out rooms (there was no room in the inn for the curious) I fled.
I admit it. I got out of there.
It turns out I don’t have the stomach or heart for the work in the kitchen. I am glad that others do. I am glad that others can craft words that can somehow invite people to taste and see the goodness of our God. I pray that inviting and inclusive and delicious words flow from this time.
As for me, I went out for ice cream.
Here is what I know. I am blessed to serve a remarkable church in Rochester, MN. My sense of doing church there is that the kitchen and the front of the house are all seeking to do the same thing: we want to serve up grace to the hungry of soul. I get to work with people who are huge of heart and excited by God’s stirring in our midst and I left the convention center today so grateful for my local church and my place in it.
Christ UMC in Rochester is where I am called to serve up the Body of Christ; in the midst of the hungry and the seeking and the hopeful.
I’m hoping I am still a good waitress.