It's really bugging me that I can't remember where it comes from. I'd like to think it was Samuel Beckett's absurd "Waiting for Godot," because that would fit, but maybe someone can clarify or correct me, one way or the other. Anyway, there is this scene in which a character shows up claiming to be God, and his evidence for this is a big letter "G" on his shirt. That cracked me up when I first read it, and I still find it pretty funny. I've thought of it any number of times since this past November, when my "Baby G" was born. He's not God, but he is God's child; for God put His Name upon him, and sealed him with the sign of the Holy Cross on both his forehead and his chest.
The Year of Our Lord 2006 turned out to be the year of the "G" for me and mine. Not only did we spend the year waiting to welcome our little Gerhardt (immediately dubbed "Baby G" by his big sister); we also welcomed Gifford Grobien, his wife 'Gina and their gaggle of giggling Grobien girls at Emmaus, first as fellow members of the body of Christ, and then as a second pastor's family.
Welcoming an assistant pastor was a pretty significant development, but I was surprised at how quickly it seemed very comfortable and natural to have a second pastor serving along with me in the Divine Service. My eldest son immediately picked up on the way it helps to distinguish the pastoral office from the person of the pastor. There is a dynamic, as well, in the interaction of two pastors working together, that really serves to confess the locus of Christ and His Gospel in the preaching and administration of the means of grace.
I am reminded all the more of these benefits and blessings of an assistant pastor, by the fact that Pastor Grobien and his family are on vacation now, and suddenly it feels very strange to be on my own again for this time. I was glad to have the assistance of a brother pastor for the Feast of the Ascension, but there were still things for me to do, myself, that Pastor Grobien has been doing since his ordination this past October. That wasn't all that long ago, but the rhythm and rapport we established from the start has simply been so right, anything else seems odd. I'm not suggesting that a faithful administration of the Divine Service requires two or more pastors, but I'm grateful that we normally have that opportunity at Emmaus. And I am mainly just thinking out loud about the fact that I will miss the assistance of my friend and colleague on the morrow.
Somebody tell me, though, whether the fellow with the big "G" on his chest is in "Waiting for Godot," or elsewhere.