Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dropping into Grace

For those of you who know me, my spiritual journey has been marked by many random acts of "Huh?" Søren Kirkegaard said, "Life is lived forwards but understood backwards." Hence most of the time when God is at work, my general response is "huh?" ... until much later.

My work at Hospice of Washington County was abruptly terminated in September 2011. Officially, I was terminated without cause. Essentially, I was placed in a position where I was told to ignore a legal obligation and violate my ordination vows - neither of which were acceptable.

The upshot of this is I had been scheduled to begin a stint as a long term supply clergy at Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick, MD ... which began the Sunday after I was fired. Now being supply clergy is a few shekels in the pocket - but it doesn't really pay the bills. However, I had a place to be and an altar at which to celebrate and I somehow had a sense that God was at work. Maybe it was getting the phone call from a parishioner the same day I was fired who said, "I just heard you're coming to Grace and I'm so excited!" Or maybe it was later that same day when a deacon friend called and said, "Hey, I just had a call from the bishop's office - I'm coming to Grace Brunswick." Somehow it felt like, "Here's your sign" (and I don't mean the "Stupid sign" either).

After spending a few weeks at Grace, it became clear that their traditions were pretty high church. First hint, thurible hanging in the sacristy ... and a full boat of incense! My heritage is pretty high church having come from California, so I felt like we could work well together (and yes, the incense came out on All Saints Sunday and Christmas Eve).

In November, the vestry voted to call me as their Priest-in-Charge ... that's a priest who really isn't in charge of anything. Who said Anglican terminology is always accurate? I'm pretty much doing the work of a rector but in a "try before you buy" kind of way. The folks at Grace get to check me out and work with me and I get to check them out and work with them ... and after a year or three, we decide whether this is working and convert the position into rector if it's mutually agreeable.

So how'd I end up here? Only by Grace ... God's grace and the power of the risen Christ to make new things happen. Where will we go? I hope we'll go forward in the power of the Holy Spirit to make disciples, to be healers and reconcilers, and to bear the light of Christ in the community. I don't know how that's all going to work ... but I know it will be interesting.

No comments: