Faith Works 7-19-14
A view from the verge of vacation
Rev. Bueller was picking up a few items off of his desk at the church when he looked out the window at some kids walking by.
They were enjoying summer vacation, he could tell, shorts and tans and dirty feet in flip-flops, walking along the three of them with no urgency or worries ahead or behind.
He hoped for the same to the couple he'd just seen off after their wedding. The vows include "for better, for worse… in sickness or in health" and that was a reality for any pair of newlyweds, but for now, for today, his prayer was that they know the simple joy of being together on a summer day.
It could be hard to do at a reception, he knew.
A stop by the hall to offer grace for the meal, one last prayer by the pastor using the DJs microphone, a quick bite, then home to look over the notes for the sermon tomorrow, and pack for the trip they were leaving for right after the last service.
Sloane had insisted they take at least one trip this summer, and it was funny that she had to be the one to remind him. They'd married between his sophomore and junior years of college, after her freshman year, and both his parents and hers had called it a typically impetuous decision.
In fact, they'd been discussing it for three years. Their action was many things, but impetuous it wasn't. He had his scholarship from the German American Steuben Society (and he'd better check the date of the Baron von Steuben parade this September and let the church elders know he'd be gone that weekend), and they had a plan.
Everyone in college and seminary and in the congregations he'd served had always said "Rev. Bueller is a man with a plan." The plan may change, but there always was one. If you didn't know him well, you might think some of his ideas or activities were pretty unexpected, but that wasn't really the case if you knew how much energy he put into creating moments of surprise and spontaneity.
The kids were already at his sister's in California; she was an engineer with one of those electric car companies, and she'd married her high school boyfriend as well, who had ended up in the movies as if that was something they'd planned. He had steadier work than some college graduates Rev. Bueller knew, ads and TV shows and such.
And choosing ministry was a surprise to some, but not to Sloane, or to his best friends like Frye. He liked people, he loved helping them find happiness, and he truly loved sharing with them good news that wasn't just for today.
As a Christian pastor, the best way to help people hear that sort of good news that lasted, he'd found, was helping them notice the moment they were in, the day they were having. Because it seemed to him that the source of so much misery in the world was how most people spend their lives worrying about the future, or regretting the past.
Or as he liked to say in his sermons: Life moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!
So that's what Sloane had needed to remind him, and why they were heading off for the week. She'd reminded him that he needed to stop and look around. So that's what they were going to do.
With any luck, they'd do their looking around in shorts, sandals, and with dirty feet. And he'd be a better minister for it, or his name wasn't Ferris Bueller.
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; he has been in some parades in Chicago himself. Tell him what you've seen when looking around once in a while at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.