The Apollos Blues (a retired clergy lament)

(First Corinthians 3:1-9)

They took a lot of watering,
all those churches —
and loving and helping,
teaching about justice, giving hope,
sharing tears
when a beloved died,

baptizing people,
sometimes beautifully,
less said about Ephesus the better.
(I never dropped a baby
or embarrassed a confirmand –
that counts for something)

and reminding people
they are baptized,

also baptizing mission trips,
projects, committees,
the open and affirming process,
not to speak of —
blessing dogs, a calf and chickens,
apartments, backpacks,
and toilet paper for the shelter.

They took a lot of watering,
all those churches —
till I was all dried up,
not to speak of occasionally
in first century fertilizer,
did you ever meet those Corinthians?

Did I mention … loving?

They took a lot of watering,
all those churches –
and then – letting grow.

I have better boundaries than Paul.



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12 Responses to The Apollos Blues (a retired clergy lament)

  1. Stephen Price says:

    And the not knowing, the not knowing which plants are merely dormant, but will burst in to bloom one day. But you have watered well, and have presented your God with a fragrant bouquet

  2. Maren says:

    There can be a long, long dormancy. And some seeds mildew in the ground.

  3. Such true words, Maren. And the letting go does rend the heart. Yet, it also sets us free – but it takes time -and, as you know well, a new way to love the world will open.

  4. Maren says:

    And I had never considered Paul as a boundary miscreant!

  5. Jerard, Robert says:

    What a lovely poem. The abundant streams that flow through you to those you touch will never cease. Keep on with your loving expression of God’s goodness. As our Master said, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” But like St. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.”

    You are missed at DARLA.

    Much love,
    Bob Jerard

  6. Maren says:

    Thanks so much — I miss them!

  7. Thank you for this. It spoke to my mixed feelings as I transition from regular parish ministry to…who knows what?

  8. Gail Orlando says:

    Yes, We took a lot of watering. We are growing. Growing much better for having you as our Minister. You have helped us deal with those with serious illness, those who have passed on and made us all weep. Maren, you have also blessed the births of many children and grandchildren. Thank you, Maren for your service to us. You have been a Blessing! Now it’s your turn to relax a bit. Enjoy your grandchildren, maybe travel a bit. I know you will never stop working, but as long as you enjoy your work and have time to relax! Thank you for EVERYTHING you did for me.
    Sending you Best Wishes and Lots of Love!

  9. Maren says:

    Thank you so much, Gail!!!

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