When my friends who are not church people ask me what my professional duties look like outside of Sunday mornings, I usually tell them that I am a "professional meeter." Rarely does a day go by without some sort of meeting. Thursday, my writing day, means that I try to limit myself to one meeting outside of my writing time. Really, I meet a lot.
I have never been a huge fan of meetings--especially unnecessary ones--but I am getting used to them. There's something important that happens in that face-to-face interaction. We plan, we discuss, we look to the future and evaluate the past. Really, there's something holy there: something relational, something incarnational, as our plans take shape.
In my first few months at North Decatur UMC, there have been a lot of these meetings. I have had time to sit down with almost everyone one-on-one. I've learned customs and traditions. We've talked through difficult decisions and hewed a new path. Meetings are a chance to practice our relationships with one another and prepare for the day on which we will meet God face to face (while remembering that each time we meet another human, we are meeting a child of God). These first months have been filled with these meetings, these encounters, this grace.
Now, we're moving into a new season of meeting at the church as we move forward into our life together. And this week, especially, is filled with possibility. Meetings with:
the seminary to discuss a shared project
the local cooperative ministry to talk about how we can work together
the Presbyterian pastor down the street, to talk about how to partner more effectively
a parishioner to hear how life is going, and to dream about the future of the church
a number of United Methodist pastors in the area, to talk about how we can better serve the children of Atlanta
the leader of a denomination-wide advocacy group to talk about the work of justice
the church council, to plan for the year and make decisions about the path forward
There are more, but those seem to be enough holy moments for now. I am reminded of Buechner: "in the final analysis, all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."