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what I really didn’t expect to be doing


We are sitting in a Dunkin Donuts, a couple doors down from St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s has been doing lunch for over 20 years every Monday, holidays and all. If it’s Monday, there is lunch at St. Paul’s, done by a different parish in the diocese every week. Ecclesia does pastoral care during lunch.

So I have been a couple times. My feeling to date: I can do ok (usually) with one person, maybe two, but not with a table full. I’ve struck out every time. Today–well, ok, there were only two at the table–but I went over because Henry waved at me (we’d talked yesterday before common cathedral). We started talking, and then Philip joined in. And we had more and better conversation. Next week, a bigger table.

After lunch, a simple communion and healing service with discussion of next Sunday’s gospel. I’m going to preach next week at common cathedral, so I need all the help I can get. Next week’s gospel is You cannot serve two masters, don’t consider tomorrow, consider the lilies of the field, seek first the kingdom of God. I’m beginning to think the homeless don’t think this is as hard a text as I am afraid it will be for them. (More on that later).

Then–have I seen Windsor Button? It’s around the corner, and although it specializes in buttons, there is lots and lots of yarn. No one (least of all me) should be surprised that I come away with a little more yarn. I choose to leave “a little” undefined. But what I did not expect is that both Steve (the Rev, above) and Jessica are hot to knit. Jessica, the artist-in-residence for common art, has knit before, but not on double points. If I’d been thinking, maybe a flat piece to sew up the back would’ve been easier for leg warmers, but she chose gorgeous bright color and is doing fine, despite the very slippery metal double points. Steve has not knit before, so we spend a bit more time in search-the-error-and-rescue work, but he was in the rhythm of it by the time we quit, getting even tension and moving along despite what I can only call a chopsticks needle hold (not really well represented in this picture, but I’ll get another up sometime). There are no knitting police, I remind myself and him; if it works, it’s an ok way to do it.

So: I didn’t expect to succeed at pastoral work at lunch with a table. I didn’t expect “no thought for tomorrow” to be acceptable to this congregation. And I really, really didn’t expect to be teaching knitting.

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