For a number of years I've used a wonderful resource called Prepare to help with worship planning. It has all the lectionary Scriptures in it for each Sunday of the church year, hymn suggestions, and space for notes. Several times a year a colleague and I take time to make worship plans together. We read through the Scriptures, share ideas, challenge theology, underline key verses, make notes, and choose the Scriptures we'll focus on each Sunday and come up with a sermon title. If we find helpful resources, we make notes of them, referring to a page number in a book, or stapling an article to the appropriate week. Each week I open up The Book and find a starting point for my worship planning for that week.
Yesterday, I went over to the office empty handed. I could not find The Book. Daughter had looked (she is well-trained on the importance of The Book), I had looked, and we hadn't been able to locate it. I was lost. Secretary needed worship information. I knew the title and Scriptures because I'd put them in the newsletter, but I had nothing else, and wasn't sure how to proceed without my book. I finally called my colleague, and she helpfully read me the notes she had written down for this Sunday. I finished the bulletin.
Secretary asked me if I had a worship schedule put together yet for February, as she was beginning work on the February newsletter. I had another moment of panic. How could I make plans without The Book? I came home and looked a few more places for it. I returned to the office empty handed, and shifted my focus to other things, so I wouldn't have to deal with the horrible sinking feeling I felt every time I considered the possibility that it was permanently lost.
The truly frustrating part was that I've been more organized lately, so I couldn't figure out where it could have gone. There were times when I've had piles of papers and books spread all over the house, so there were plenty of hiding places for The Book. That is no longer the case. I tried not to think about life without The Book.
This morning I decided to check my brief case one more time. I thought I'd left the book here when we'd gone to visit family, but there, in a pocket that I never use, was The Book, filled with notes and fat with the resources I've stapled to various pages. Now I have a better appreciation for the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Rejoice and be glad with me, for The Book was lost, but now it is found, and I no longer have that sinking period in my gut.