The pastor's ego must be crucified if the pastor would love. Yesterday the worship leader started and people interjected with things they wanted to share. People spoke here and there sprinkled among the several songs. People prayed for others. There was fellowship. Encouragement happened. It was a good day for the community. A really good day. And I watched it all happen. As noon approached that I realized I wouldn't be speaking that day. Besides, pretty much everything I wanted to say had already been said. I was silent as the service was carried along by others. When it was all said and done no one would've recognized who the pastor was. I didn't need to be there. The rest of the day I was rather sober in my thoughts as I considered what all this might mean. On one level I could feel threatened, useless, replaceable, disposable, unappreciated. But on another level I was incredibly impressed with the community. They really don't need me. They teach each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, help each other, love each other, all without my help, thank you very much. I sense I am on the brink of a whole new way of living within this community, this fellowship of friends. And this community is on the brink of a whole new way of being a community. It excites me and scares me at the same time. They are my friends. I am theirs. They are my peers. I am their theirs. They are my pastors. I am theirs. They are my sinners. I am theirs. They are my saints. I am theirs. They are my brothers and sisters, my mothers and fathers, my children. And I am their father, their brother, their son. As my leadership grows no longer necessary, as my prominence is no longer required, as my face is no longer front page, as my body is no longer conspicuous, our mutual love will be shared, less hindered by rank. At one point I will meet the cross. Then I will truly consider as dung all my seminary education, my pastoral experience, my church life, and my theological knowledge and finally become one with them, my people.