There is an old joke that describes the Pope’s dismay when, upon arriving in heaven, he discovers that the defining word for ordained life is spelled “c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-e.”
He is not alone.
Parish ministry can begin to feel like a grind to the priest or pastor who, as soon as one good sermon, liturgy, or class is done, must move on the next without even a break.
Rochelle Melander and Harold Eppley write for the Alban Institute that spiritual leaders rarely take time to savor their accomplishments. “Making time in your schedule to express gratitude for the blessings you have experienced and to celebrate your accomplishments,” they say, “can bring joy and a renewed sense of purpose to your ministry.”
They have a few ideas on how to do this:
Make a list of the activities and experiences that bring you joy and are potential vehicles for celebration. Your list can include activities you might do alone or with others and range from short to long, inexpensive to costly. Try to come up with as many as possible. Examples include a bubble bath, a massage, a trip to your favorite bookstore, a night at the movies, a nap, a hot-fudge sundae, a dinner gathering with friends, a pool party, a ski trip, or a walk in the park.
Make a list of occasions that you might choose to celebrate in the next year (alone, or with colleagues, parishioners, family, or friends). Include both big accomplishments (such as completing your stewardship drive) and small ones (such as preaching a good sermon or finishing a month of shut-in visits).
Schedule at least one celebration for each of the next six months in your calendar.
Melander and Eppley also suggest finding a colleague with whom you can talk about the role of celebration in your life and ministry.
Most important of all, they suggest
Let your devotional time take on a celebratory tone this week. Thank God for blessing your life and ministry. Share with God those life and ministry accomplishments for which you are most grateful. Be creative in the ways you express your gratitude.
Read it all here.