Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Ego

Easter Sunday and the place was packed. Lots of wayward family members squirming in the pews as a favor to their grandmothers. And there were the semiannual church attendees who came last Christmas. Plus, the visiting dignitary--part of a body of governors that I answer to, who decide my professional fate.

The irritation, ego, and anxiety settle in. First, I think about how most of these people won't be here next Sunday and I fight the temptation to thumb my nose at them. Then I think of the dignitary and how I need to perform well for him. If he doesn't like me, I could be sent to the Siberia of our denomination.

I quickly review the sermon. Jeez, I wish I could think of an extra clever story to go with the message--something that really pops. God, don't let me be too lame.

Then I think how I've been preaching longer than this guy and am probably better than him on my worst day. It occurs to me that I don't want to show him up too badly or he'll make sure I get sent to the Siberia of our denomination.

And then, finally, I remember that this man has his own sadness and trials to bear. Whatever his purpose for being there, mine was the same as it always is: to bless the people.

I'm not sure why that is hard to remember, but I go through this little process fairly often.

There were no problems. People said I was extra good. And I was.

But there goes the ego again.


  1. I think your stregnth is not in having no ego, but in being able to reach past a healthy one to feel for that man's stuggles, and then to settle and focus on your job there, "to bless the people". Maybe Ego's a part of the complete package, and perhaps not such a bad thing after all. ~K

  2. I'll forego trying to say something original, and just give a double ditto to K's comment above, which reaches further than anything that ocurred to me. --JagWar

  3. You know, for C and E Christians (that's Christmas and Easter only) why bother with the pomp and circumstance? You may as well have the strip pole dancers for Jesus performing. "By his strips we are healed"...

    Wait. That may actually bring them back the next week.
    Why is it that upper management always seems to be someone younger than ourselves whom always seems to look like a young Alec Baldwin? Did he have greasy hair too? I'da taken him to the local bar (in my town, that'd be my cabinet) before service and get him to relax.

    'Course the Strippers for Jesus may have done the trick...

    I go through that thought process before I do my speeches. I dunno. Performance anxiety? I think when we're really good at what we do we just want to make sure it's still the best. Which, I'm sure you are!

    Next time use the strippers. You can join in. It's good exercise.

  4. K and Jagwar, thanks. Of course ego is always part of the package. It take a lot of audacity to stand up every week and tell people how they should live. Can't do that without some ego, but it's got to be balanced with love and humility.

    Sistermoon, until I came to know you, I had never understood the tremendous curative power of strip dancers. I wonder of Obama will cover it in his health care bill perhaps under emotional disorder.