All about energy

This morning’s Gospel was the feeding of the five thousand men (plus women, plus children) and I’d never noticed before that Jesus had done this whilst he was trying to get away from the crowds in order to have some time to assimilate the news of the death of his cousin, John Baptiser.  Jesus must have had to draw very deeply on his resources to meet the needs of this crowd.

I’m aware that I am looking forward to my annual leave – some time away with family, and some time to stare into space.  Refreshment.  And after two baptisms today, I’m shattered.  I’m not quite sure why they are so exhausting, and said as much to a member of the regular congregation who was helping this afternoon.  His reply “Because you put so much into them”.  

This morning’s was of the baby of a member of the congregation- so we had lots of their family from all over the south of England and Wales.  They were lively, engaged, and joined in the Benefice Communion service with gusto.  They were a pleasure to be with, and we all loved the time afterwards, when they supplied cake and champagne, and the children played out in the glade in the sunshine.  But I was tired.  I’d turned up with a list of things that had to be prepared, and the churchwardens and sidespeople were great, but I was very conscious that instead of wandering about with a welcoming smile, I was instead wearing my “don’t bother me, I’m concentrating” glare.  However, once we started I relaxed a lot, and normal baptism/Communion service resumed.  I made friends with one of the friends of the baby, and so had happy cuddles (I should add Henry was 2, and I was cuddling in public with permission of Mum).

By the time I got to the second this afternoon, I was aware that I was rather running on empty.  I had help with readings and prayers, and so wasn’t quite as exposed as I had been this morning.  The family were lovely – this was the baptism of their third daughter, there were lots of children, and lots of getting them involved.  Again, they were lively and engaged, and their singing was great.  But was I ever glad to get home this afternoon.

I’m not this tired after weddings, or after funerals.  I’m wondering whether it’s because of the different emotional temperatures of each event.  At weddings, everyone pretty much knows what is expected of them, and no-one wants to spoil the day for the bride and groom.  At funerals, there are so many emotions sloshing about that my main job is to contain and focus them in a way that is useful for the mourners.  But at baptisms, lots of folk seem to turn up expecting to watch, not take part.  And shifting them to a point where they join in requires energy – to overcome the initial inertia.  Once they get going, it’s fine, but by then I’ve expended a shed load of energy to get them over the inertia.

Anyone got any ideas of a more energy efficient way of operating?


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