I remember getting one the greatest gifts ever when I was 8 years old.  It was a Star Wars laser game. It came with a real laser gun and a motorized spinning wheel of storm trooper targets.  I could not believe it when I saw it. I ripped open the box and started putting it together. I cannot remember if I even said, “Thanks,” but I knew my parents were pretty happy with my response.  As a parent, nothing gives me more joy than to see my kids play and use presents I get them.  I do not need any elaborate thanks.  Or, another example is when my wife makes her usual wonderful meals, nothing thrills her more than the guests gobbling it down.

There is something wonderful about going home at the end of a day. To leave behind the world with its unpredictability, with its stresses and struggles, and return home, to the predictable, the familiar, the comfortable. It is a joyful thing. To kick off your shoes and relax in your favorite place to sit. To zone out in front of the TV or whatever screen of choice you like the best. It is something we often look forward to throughout the day. The comfort of your home is legendary, at least to you,

Dear friend, in your Baptism you entered into brotherhood with Christ, with all the angels, saints, and Christians on earth. Hold to this fraternity, and live up to its demands, and you have brotherhoods enough. - Luther

Every now and then the duties of the pastoral vocation overwhelm me. Sometimes I find being a pastor is painful and leaves me restless and unsatisfied. It usually is not the preaching and teaching which delivers the struggle. It is also not necessarily the handing over of the of the gifts, the administration of the Sacraments, that are a problem. No, the issue is usually rooted in what the older theologians discussed under the title of Seelsorge, an old German word meaning the, “care of souls.”

I had a counselling session last week. During this particular meeting, the conversation eventually came to the world being an awful, fallen place. The world sucks. After we finish our session, my counselor typically walks me to the door of the facility we meet in – that way he can see if his next counselee has arrived yet. This time, as he did so, we continued the conversation and, eventually, he gave me a simple, yet profound saying to sum up what we as human beings need to do, especially as Christians: Embrace the suck.