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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I’ve shared before that this summer I am the one, for the most part, “holding the fort” here at the CEM office. Others have had the reunion and camp assignments. Several have had opportunities to vacation. One of them has even had the very special occasion to take a honeymoon! But because I’m not doing an extended vacation this year (at least not before November) I’m the one taking many of your calls and responding to your emailed questions.

It has occurred to me just how much we all pay attention to expectations. How many of the questions that come to me, either directly or as next-best-alternative in someone else’s absence, have to do with “what is expected of me?”

What are the expectations for persons being ordained? What is expected of me now that I have this or that new title? What do you need me to do if I accept this job? What is the likely response if I send out this announcement or that invitation or the other notice? What will be the expectations if we choose this course of action or if we decide to stop offering this service? I’ve been invited to speak; what are they expecting from me?

The list goes on and on. And here I sit as arbiter of expectations! (Who would have expected such a thing?)

All of these questions are legitimate; I don’t mind answering them one tiny bit. I’m happy to give the answers when I have them; or I’ll check with a higher authority if I need to. But very often, I find, the questioner really needs someone to let them know that what they’re planning to do is OK and that no one will be hurt or offended or upset if they happen to be wrong. Even if they’re not breaking any rule or commandment or going against policy or decree, they need to check the expectations around what they’re considering.

Sometimes there is a policy or a rule or a precedent that I can clarify or recall for them. Very often the traditions are quite local and while someone may not expect a “mere member” to offer the prayer, or even the sermon, there is no proscription against it. I am often reminded of the big, centre chair in my home congregation, since closed, and how we children would sometimes sneak in to the sanctuary, perhaps during potluck cleanup time and sit on it. Believe me, we knew for sure that we were not allowed to sit in that chair until we were grown and ordained to some very high office! I waited fifty years to sit there legitimately.

Most of the time we can consider the rules we know by heart:
“the mission of Jesus Christ is what matters most for the journey ahead.” (Section 164)

And this: “do justice, and... love kindness, and ... walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

If you’re living those expectations then all I can offer you is my blessing.

Posted by Marion


  1. As one of the visitors to "The Fort" this summer I just wanted to say thank you Marion.


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