So I played my “pastor” card for the first time today. In the past, my activities at church have been under the rubric of “intern” or “volunteer”. But today, accompanying two friends to the hospital, it was expedient to use the word pastor, and I must say, it sounded different. I can see how easy it is to get a big head with this title. “Pastor” is much like “Doctor”. It is a title that is earned, but so easily abused, not usually officially or on purpose, but abused none-the-less. I think it can all too easily lead to a type of pride that is wholly un-pastoral.
So more about this trip to the hospital.
If you remember from a previous post, I took a job at a recycling center to befriend the homeless. Well, low and behold that happened, and as a result, a married couple that is homeless started coming to our church. One thing led to another, and now they are trying to detox from alcohol. Well today when they came to church, she was in bad shape, going through alcohol withdrawl. Talking with her after the service, we found out just how bad it was, so Itook her to the emergency room. I spent the rest of the afternoon playing pastor, even taking the liberty of parking in the spot designated for pastors.
For the rest of the afternoon, I was Pastor David to the hospital staff, as I accompanied my friends through the affair of being admitted to the ER, getting an IV and all the rest. When we weren’t talking to nurses, and doctors, and social workers, we were talking about this or that, some of it “spiritual” stuff, and much of it not, though in reality, all of it being very much linked to the spiritual stuff. For the sake of privacy I won’t say more, but suffice it to say that this was the most pastoral I have ever been.
My reaction… hmm. By which I mean that in the past, even with doing this internship and all, it's kind of like I only play a pastor on TV, it's not really real. Today it was real. There was a sense in which I loved it, and there was a sense in which it gave me great hesitation. Why? That's an intricate thing I'm not sure I have wholly wrapped my own head around, but I think it has something to do with this, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." And this, "Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven."