This pastor was almost late for church this morning. I could blame it on the fact that I was in St. Louis last week for training and so still an hour behind. But really, I think it might have been pregnancy brain instead. Last night, as I set my alarm - something I have been doing in order to get to worship at this particular call for 6 months now - I just set it for the wrong time. I did the math wrong in my head. So I woke up, got ready, got my husband up, gave him the 15 minute warning, and was just getting my things together to leave and mentally thinking through my morning schedule. I was wondering if I wanted to get a little bit of coffee from Starbucks, or an iced tea from McDonald's, and then marveling that I somehow felt better rested than I usually do on Sunday mornings. Bam. That's when it hit me. I was better rested because normally I get up an hour earlier. The church I am serving is a 70 mile drive from our home, and I made this realization approximately an hour and fifteen minutes before worship was to start. Needless to say, I guiltily prayed through the whole drive for no speed traps, cops, construction, or other issues. Thankfully, I made it just in time to use the bathroom (a must at 30 weeks), robe up, and get ready to process with the choir. Whew! Also needless to say, after an hour of driving on pure adrenaline and then going straight into a service where we were celebrating communion and welcoming a new member into the church, I was beat. So much for feeling better rested after my extra hour of sleep.
Back when I started supply preaching around the presbytery, I became increasingly worried from week to week that I would miss or be late for worship. After all, I was going to many places I had never been, relying on Google maps to give me an accurate travel estimate, using an old GPS, traveling on many back roads where one slow Sunday driver could make or break it all, AND finally arriving at churches that started at various times in the morning. What if I went to the wrong church? Or showed up to Church X but at Church Y's starting time? Now that I am back in one place, my worry is that I will oversleep. I'm not a morning person, and worship at this church starts at 9:30am. I usually am there early to get ready and run through with the worship team, and when you factor in the 70 mile drive, there is always some element of stress until I pull into the parking lot.
So far, I've made it. Could I give myself grace if I didn't? I am confident I would have received grace this morning if I had been a few minutes late, but certainly not from myself. Thankfully, even when I am running late, harried, and otherwise distracted, even on the days when I show up in body but not necessarily in spirit (don't we all have those?), the Holy Spirit still shows up. And usually right on time. Thanks be to God.