Wednesday, December 21, 2016
As the year 2016 is coming to an end, I’m almost half way through my vicarage. At Hanover, I’ve learned a lot about serving as a pastor, and yet I know there is so much more to learn. Not only are the parts of worship service important, but also special events where people are getting together and being there for each other in the name of Jesus Christ is a huge part of ministry as well. I know that all that I’m going through will prepare me for the ministry that is ahead of me.
My vicarage congregation has given me the privilege of preaching a sermon about every other week. As each week goes on, sermon writing has become a creative journey. The art of sermon writing is different than several other ways of communicating. It the art of telling a story rather than giving a history lesson. It more about meeting the matters of the heart rather than describing how God’s plan of salvation works. Sermon writing is an art that keeps challenging my linear or logical way of communicating things.
One special event my congregation had in November was hosting a sausage supper for the whole community. On Friday morning, I was just one of many people moving and butchering the pigs in swift and orderly manner. I had an opportunity to spend time removing the eyes and cleaning the livers as you can see in the picture. Then on Saturday, I was just one of many people processing the meat into sausage. On Sunday I was just one of many people helping with serving the people who came to eat at the sausage supper. The community knows that on the first Sunday of November, Hanover will have their sausage supper. I have never helped out with a sausage supper or any kind of meat production before. I enjoyed learning some things that I have never done before.
Later in November, I spent a weekend in my hometown in California to spend time with my friends and family. I had a chance to share with them the things I had been doing with the people at Hanover. They would have never guessed that their son would be butchering pigs on his vicarage. As this was my time to have an early Thanksgiving meal with them. As the trip went by quick, I had so much more that I wanted to share with them. I’ll have to save it for another time. Also on this trip, I enjoyed making a new friend.
Another new experience for me was the art of hunting. As deer season had come, I went out to a deer stand with Pastor before a speck of sunlight came in the morning. There was a doe sleeping near the deer stand, but we didn’t see it. The deer woke up and took off before we even knew it was there. Throughout the rest of the day, I learned about the tricks of looking for a deer. They can blend into the landscape and smell you if the wind picks up your scent. A person needs to be prepared for the cold as they are sitting in the deer stand. I found out about the different kinds of guns used for hunting and other alternative methods when hunting season is over.
Another part of my vicarage journey is to assist with teaching confirmation to the middle schoolers. In each class, the youth learn basics of the Bible. This fall season we have spent a day or more teaching one of the Ten Commandments. With each commandment, we look at its wording and its meaning. Then we discuss in which areas we can apply this to our lives. You know your teaching with you see the kids pause to analyze the questions being asked of them. The classes will help them understand what as good and right for living as God’s loved child and servant.
As we are coming upon a new year, we just don’t know what is going to come. We don’t know the struggles that we are going to face, and we don’t know the blessings that will come our way. But when we know that a loving God is in the middle of it all, then we know God that God will bring us through the next adventure. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1.
Vicar Sylvan Finger