Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 5.

I've felt well this week. I thought it worth documenting a good week, after all the recent weeks of nearly better but not.

I rested well after Sunday morning, when I led one of our worship gatherings, but did the whole thing. Often when we do two on a Sunday, my colleague and I share the liturgy and preaching between us. However, there's also the Sundays when one of us will do liturgy and preaching at two services. But you don't need to know the complicated ins and outs of our worship rosters.

Sure, I was tired afterwards, but it was the good tired that comes when you've given your all in order to be present for the people and the Spirit.

I rested well on Monday, too. Did some sewing to re-hem a pair of trousers that was too long; some mending of a top whose seams were not holding together well.

Did some cross stitch, and some laundry.

And I went for a walk. It was a 20 minute walk, and I took it slow, but I did it, and I actually felt good afterwards. The sun was shin…

Midweek Musing. On the kin-dom of God.

Reflection on Mark 3:20–35 and 2 Cor 4:13–5:1  Wesley Uniting Church 10 June 2018 

He turns his back on her. His mother. In a culture in which life revolves around family. But in any culture, turning your back against your mother – that is profound. Who is my family?, he asks. And for all those rejected, marginalized, folk with withered hands and darkened sight, begging to be seen on the edges of society, his sweeping embrace of all who follow God’s way as his kin must have felt like a warm shower after playing netball in the rain. But he turns away from his mother and his siblings. For some commentators, that they are outside the house in which Jesus is teaching his disciples suggests they are not considered by the narrator or his audience to be disciples, are outside Jesus’ redefinition of family. But I don’t see them as outside the invitation. They are not excluded from the possibility of being family. In the story, though, Jesus’ family are letting fear determine their actions. They…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 4.

Yesterday, I pushed through the morning, in pain, but in good spirits.

Parking is tricky in the suburb where the GP is, and I walked quickly, having parked a little further away than I would have liked, with less time than was ideal. My muscles hurt quite a bit by the time I arrived. Thankful for the elevator.
I sat in the doctor's waiting room for 20 minutes, almost falling asleep.
The doctor listened, heard me, acknowledged that this time, unlike in Scotland as I had told her before, there was no obvious trigger for the exhaustion and pain. She ordered tests, broad ranging, and among others, used the word 'polymyalgia', which I'd not heard before: I'd been thinking fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue.

Looking up symptoms on government health information sheets, I see that fibromyalgia is probably not what this is: my muscles do seem to be inflamed, not a symptom of fibromyalgia.
Polymyalgia has the inflammation in muscles I experience, the fatigue, my experiences of…

Midweek Musing. On Sabbath.

Preaching at Wesley Uniting Church 3 June 2018

Pentecost 2 | Mark 2:23–3:6 (Ps 139:1–6, 13–18)


It’s like looking deep into the eyes of a deer and finding there love and blessing; finding heaven. That’s from a Mary Oliver poem I read this week.

Perhaps that’s what it’s like for those who pray with icons – we were wondering about icons in our confirmation conversation this week, Stephanie, Dominic, and I. I had brought a print of the famous icon by Rublev, which for him was of three angels, but many who encounter the icon for themselves see through it the Trinity.

See through it, not in it.

That is the purpose of an icon – to look through it towards God. We can’t look at God fully, so we look through these sacred, prayerfully composed, icons, and hope to catch a glimpse of the Holy.

We look, deeply, attentively, prayerfully, mindfully. To do so is to pause, to be still, to enter a holy cathedral of time.

According to Abraham Heschel, that is Sabbath: architecture of time.

The or…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Episode 3.

I felt better.

I had things I needed to do, supplies for the house I've been putting off getting for weeks. So I spent two hours at the shopping centre. I did the lifting and carrying of things around stores, and the to-ing and fro-ing of deciding, and then the unpacking and sorting and storing once home.

After that, there was paperwork to do, days of receipts to log, a messy desk to tidy, papers to file.

Then it began. The pain in my arms as I put books on shelves; the pain in my legs as I stood up from sitting. My thinking felt dull and cloudy, my eyes wouldn't stay open.

I thought this episode of extreme exhaustion was drawing to a close.

But I think now it might be time to return to the doctor and get some help to manage whatever this is – and maybe it might be time at last to give it a 'proper' name ...

Midweek Musing. On the long neglected Spirit.

We don't talk about the Spirit much in church. We have this day, Pentecost, when we celebrate the Spirit coming. But for the majority of our words – we give them to Jesus and God.

Now, Jesus, fair enough. We follow the Way of Jesus, through whom we understand God to have renewed God's relationship with creation.
Last week I related that through Jesus we gain a new understanding of God: Creator/Father; Word/Wisdom; Holy Spirit.
So we do talk about Jesus a lot.
But I wonder if we don't look through Jesus to the Divine – Holy One, Holy Three – quite enough?

We give a lot of words to 'God', too. I am becoming more and more dissatisfied with the way we use the name 'God', however. In creeds and songs and prayers we use the name 'God' to speak of the Holy Three, or the elements of the Three we also call Father, Maker, Creator.
I find it clearer to use 'God' for the Three together.
My concern is that to equate 'God' with only one 'perso…

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar. Part 2

I slept for the three days I was ordered to rest. Took it easy on the return to work for two days. Then Sunday I preached twice, and was pretty tired, but not as ill and unsteady on my feet as I had been the previous Sunday after the two services.

I got myself some takeaway for lunch. I think part of what I like about that particular one is the going for a drive to get it. Not a long drive. 15 minutes each way, but it's kind of nice to take a bit longer to get home after church, letting go time or something.

Ate my takeaway watching netball. I miss playing netball, but watching the top flight players doesn't make me sad for what I miss because as a casual social player, I am not in their league at all!

Chatted with family on skype for Mother's Day, which was lovely, but they all seemed as tired as me, which is saying something.

Then I was at an ecumenical church service for the World Council of Churches' Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I was reading the gospel. Par…