This is a long weekend for me–Ascension is closed for the holiday and I didn’t have to preach on Sunday. It means time with the Mallowman, time for gardening, time to work on my translation project, time to clean house, time to take it a little slow because it seems like both of us are coming down with a cold.
Saturday, we headed to the boat ramp up the road from us, on the Alabama River. A couple of months ago, Sherod took the boat in for some repairs and Friday he spent a good while cleaning it. We were going to try out the boat, hoping that if it worked well, today we could pack a picnic and take a nice run down the river. The boat never cranked up so it’s back to the drawing board. On our way home, it felt providential to see something that suggested taking it easy might be in order…
The message from the universe not withstanding, I spent the whole rest of the day in the garden. Weeding. Lots and lots of weeding, that seems to always be the first order of business. One of my flower beds has had a large Lantana plant that I’d been working around. We have a good 5 or 6 more for the butterflies in other parts of the garden so I pulled it up. Those are sturdy, tough suckers–I had to do a whole lot of pruning back, digging and pulling and I’m still not sure I got all the roots. I also pulled up a clump of garlic chives in another bed. They simply took up too much of that bed. Then, the really fun part began–the planting. I put in new roses in the two flower beds in the back. I put a third new rose in the front bed, along with a half-flat of violas, a flat of pansies, two new lavender bushes, and 5 hollyhock plants. The pansies and violas will bloom pretty constantly through the fall and winter months and into the spring. I’m not sure what the lavender bushes will do. The hollyhocks will grow stems that are about 3-4 feet tall and, come the spring, will have their glorious flowers on full display, God willing. Along with the beautiful hydrangea I got from St. Paul’s and the things already growing, that flower bed should be a thing of beauty before too long.
I went to bed early and exhausted. Yesterday was church non-stop. Beautiful reception in my honor, so moved by the service of installation, grateful for everyone that did so much. Then a pastoral visit, more translation work and at the end of the afternoon, the Blessing of the Animals. Andy, my boss, had a minor family emergency that came up right at the last minute so he had to leave. The Mallowman had brought Mo and Daisy for their blessings so he graciously stepped in. For a little while we were a tag team again and it was sweet.
On my way home, I was on the phone helping make arrangements for the funeral of someone who had been terribly sick in a nursing home for a long time. No two days are the same. I love that about my life.
At one point during the service yesterday, I walked up to the railing in front of the altar, knelt and said this prayer out loud:
O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; yet you have called your servant to stand in your
house, and to serve at your altar. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with
the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of
my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted
to my care, and grant that I may faithfully administer your holy Sacraments, and by my life and teaching set forth your
true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my ministry. In prayer, quicken my devotion; in
praises, heighten my love and gratitude; in preaching, give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the
clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn into your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the
sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Beautiful words of awesome responsibility.