Thursday, January 8, 2009

Endings ... again

I just learned yesterday that our bishops have called a new priest who will be serving both St. Luke's Carey Street and Holy Nativity, Pimlico. The Reverend Glenna Reed is a young African American woman from Atlanta and I'm sure she will be a splendid pastor for these two congregations. St. Luke's has been yoked before, but this is a new experience for Holy Nativity. They are a yoking of equal partners, so this bodes well for the long term sustainability of the relationship. They are going to be a new inner-city mutual ministry model for our diocese - so that means no roadmaps or "tried and true" methodologies.

This is a lot like God's call to Abram:
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Genesis 12:1-4
The LORD did not say, "Hi Abram, it's me ... you know God. Listen, I have an idea I want to pitch to you and see what you think about it." Nope. God said "Go." No introduction, just a command and a promise. Abram went, and "believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

Believing in the LORD is to trust in God. Abram trusted fully and went, even though the roadmap was not given to him. God didn't give him the full plan, just go to a "land that I will show you." He didn't get the Google driving directions to Canaan! He didn't even get a hint that he should head westward ... just go to a land I will show you. It's as if God said, "Just start walking Abram, and I'll reveal it as you go."

Ministry is that way. We are all called to a land that God will show us. That land is the place of possibilities that do not exist right now, but will emerge as we take each step on faith. Just start moving ... God will reveal the possibilities as you trust God enough to take the steps.

I think God did it this way to make sure that Abram's ego didn't get in the way. Let's be honest, don't we all really just want God to write out the whole plan in the sky so we can get the "big picture?" The problem is, if we had the whole "big picture," we'd get our egos involved and wrest control from God to make it happen on our terms. Instead, God doesn't give us the whole picture ... just the next step. The challenge is to trust enough to take the first step, not worrying about where it goes, and trusting it will land where God wants it to land. That's a tall order.

This is true for St. Luke's and Holy Nativity, and for me too. It will be hard to say good-bye to St. Luke's. Honestly, I won't miss the haul down I-70, but I will miss the people, especially the kids. I have a few more weeks there (I think ... still waiting for final instructions on that), but it makes me start thinking about my future.

I was at Fresh Start today (our new call support group) and all this was announced. I told them the "Mercenary Presbyter" was back in the house! I'm keeping my Reverend Mom blog moniker this time though. Beloved Husband and I are opening ourselves to options which, like Abram, may ask us to get up and go to another place. If God wants us here in Maryland, a viable full-time call will open up here. But, sitting around waiting for that to happen isn't showing a lot of trust either. I need to make myself available to any possibility and see if God may be up to something unexpected.

Then again, isn't God always up to something unexpected?

1 comment:

Emerson Champion said...

When God says, "Go!" it can be hard. God said "Go!" to us just last year. Specifically, He told us to leave St. Andrew's, Pasadena -- a parish family we'd been a part of and loved for over 10 years -- and to go to St. Thomas', Towson. The affirmations and blessings didn't come until after we obediently made the journey around the beltway.