After attending the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Downers Grove Sunday, Pastor Scott Oberle asked me how I was; clergy always concerned about others. I gave him the you know life look, even though I just had a headache. However, taking a step away from myself for a moment, I realized how tired he looked. I realized how intensely others relied on him, not just immediate love ones, but that church family of all shapes,sizes and problems. I realized what a selfless profession he had chosen.
In any faith or denomination, the pastor, preacher or what ever they may be called, spend their time not only providing leadership to the business of church dimension and growth, but never ending hours when the phone rings. The phone that they would love to switch to silent mode but never do. The phone that texts them to protect the dying, counsel their loved ones, pray for the struggles of illness and addiction, soothe distraught family, friends and lovers while mending the misguided communications. Even offering solace to someone who just has a headache. Imagine that!
They are there, with overwhelming commitment, to teach the words of two thousand years ago, that the writers and scholars question, to stress the importance of a higher power, that some may feel a figment of the imagination at times. But most important, to keep walking a tireless road of goodness and love when cliffs of violence tend to shake their balance.
After a phone call with my son who is in recovery for an addiction, he reminded me that at the end of the day, that the right thing to do is probably by far the most difficult. The right thing to do is probably by far the most rewarding and he is recognizing how faith really does exist. There are no coincidences.
As a pastor, who keeps smiling, keeps encouraging, keeps advising , keeps praising and keeps praying..... regardless if they can keep their eyes open too, is truly an amazing Shepard to us all. Never fully aware of how they have changed the lives of others. This kind of pastor lays his ego aside, and through endurance, patience, and most of all love, God always grants the grace to run with the race.
What a beautiful calling! How special they have become!