Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 15, 2015
Fourth Sunday in Lent – Pray, Praise, Commission! Thank God.
As one of my good friends said, it’s done! As of this afternoon, I am now officially Rev. Elizabeth.
It was quite a day, to cap a jam-packed week of preparation. Two others were commissioned with me, under the Federation of Christian Ministries. The congregation at the church I pastor, St. Luke’s Church in Morton Grove—a suburb of Chicago—were kind enough to host our joint commissioning service.
Much prayer has gone into this, for years. Prayer, anguish, tears, pain. (And that was personal, inside of me.) I know that many, many times I had despaired of ever entering the ordained ministry. But, God had different plans. God kept on putting me in places where I would find myself ministering, naturally. Like water rolling right off a duck’s back, that is almost always how naturally ministry has come to me.
For example, I was minding my own business, eight years ago. I spoke to a fairly large group, and afterwards someone I had never seen before came up and engaged me in conversation. He picked up on my making an offhand comment about seminary in my speech. “So, you went to seminary.” Wanting to keep it low key, I kind of nodded. He pursued it. “So, you have a degree from a seminary?” I sighed, and came clean. I admitted I had a Master of Divinity degree. The next words out of his mouth floored me: “I’m on the search committee at my church. I would love for you to meet our interim pastor.”
This amazing kind of thing has happened to me at least five times in the past fifteen years. Real God-things, or God-incidences, as my pastor-mentor likes to say.
I so appreciate the many people who for over a decade supported me, encouraged me, picked me up when I fell on my face, and cheered me on when I thought I could never make it. Some of these people were at my commissioning service right here at my church. I sincerely thank these friends, near and far, for their constancy, continued nurture, and abiding love. I love you guys!
And, God, thank You for Your support and vote of confidence in me. A common clay pot, filled from within with Your light, shining out into the world. Help me show Your light, Lord, and not get in the way. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my earnest, grateful prayers.
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(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )