1 June 2015
Eighteen year ago today, I knelt at the foot of the chancel in a Christian sanctuary (not too far from where I live today). I felt the weight of it all upon me. The elders of the church, at long last, laying hands upon me and praying over me to confer on me all the responsibilities (and a few rights, I guess) of the ordained Ministry of the Word and Sacrament. It had been a lifetime in the making – literally from childhood on trying to make sense of this odd God who was ever-so-present to me since the beaches of my childhood, through the turmoil of being a teen, to the challenges of being a young adult who was trying to find her way. It was seven official years since the call to professional ministry to the moment I was commissioned with the laying on of hands and prayers and charges to tend the spirits of God’s people well even as I tended my own. How can it be that it was just yesterday and yet a lifetime ago? I already had been working professionally in the church for three years prior to that day. Which makes it nearly two decades of day after day: praying for the people of God, listening to them, doing my best to remind them of God’s peace and hope and plans for a world re-created in pure love and joy and forgiveness. It has been a long time since I first said yes to all those vows. To seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in love of neighbors and work that reconciles the world. To serve with energy and intelligence and imagination and love. To proclaim good news in Word and Sacred Sign – teaching all to trust a little deeper and live a little bit more according to Christ’s love and justice. . . . Eighteen years ago today and I want to believe I have done all I could to be faithful to these vows. In sickness and sorrow, in times of depletion and distress, when I was riding high on the waves of joy and crashing to the bottom where God’s grace more fully could be found; I have known days of deep darkness and moments of amazing awe – and been alongside God’s people in the same. I can’t remember the wide-eyed, passion-filled youngster who enthusiastically said: “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I can’t remember the pastor heavy-laden with toil and tears and fatigue. What I do know is that I am wiser now. I am more open and ever-so-much more in love. I am not overwhelmed by the challenges we face in being the body of Christ for this day. I am excited about the journey – not just for the destination, but for the wonder and reliance it brings each day! For the ways we must show up today in body, mind, and spirit for the sake of all in this world. Thanks be to God for eighteen amazing years! Eighteen years of amazing people and experiences and growth. After all this time, I still answer: Yes!
And Amen — RevJule