The new pastor was settling into her study when the phone rang. "Grace Lutheran, this is Pastor Mary, how may I help you?" she answered.
"This is Bob. The fellas and I would like to take you fishing on Friday. We'll pick you up at 6:30 am. Sharp."
"Sounds great!" said Pastor Mary without hesitating. She wanted to make a good impression while getting to know her new parishoners.
Friday came. Bob, Elmer and Don arrived at the parsonage at 6:30 am with the boat in tow and off they went to the lake.
After not a little fussing with ropes and fishing poles and tackle boxes the foursome was finally off to the middle of the lake. It was a perfect morning!
As Bob switched the motor off and Elmer dropped anchor, Don exclaimed, "We forgot the bait bucket!" Looking toward shore, sure enough.....there it was sitting near the trailer.
"Not to worry, I'll get it!" said Pastor Mary happy to help. She stood up, stepped over the edge and began walking on the water toward shore.
"Would you look at that!" exclaimed Bob.
"I can't believe it!" shouted Don.
"She can't even swim!" said Elmer.
I've been thinking about this joke a lot today. You see, I was a pastor for 13 years in the same church before I took a leave of absence last November. I'm in the process of deciding where the journey of life is taking me now, whether it be back into ministry or some other path.
While the joke makes me laugh, there's a part of the joke that really stings too. There's just enough truth to it that some days it cuts like a driving, freezing rain in February. So I've been thinking a bit about the purpose of humor and jokes--how they work (and don't work) and what impact they, along with many other sorts of words, have on our lives. I'm not sure people give enough creedance to the impact words have on us and our lives. And to me it's especially sad when that happens in the realm of church work, where our lives are to be particularly ordered around The Word. (Perhaps I'll just never get that one!)
One woman's thoughts as she tries to figure out this thing called life and how she's a part of everything. I think I'll go connect up with my knitting now!