Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Years

(Three years ago to the week, I was emailed by (my now) regional minister Rev. Sandy Messick, asking me if I would consent to having my search and call paperwork sent to a Disciples congregation in Longview as a part of their search for a settled senior pastor.  As I thought about how much has changed in these three years...the people I have married and buried and baptized, the new ministries that have sprung up...I recalled this post from a couple of years ago that I wrote on my first anniversary here.  And what both amazed and heartened me was that in the two years in between, my love for this job has not changed.  I get to be there for people in the biggest moments of their lives, and I get to teach them Bible stories for a living.  I STILL cannot believe how good I have it.  E.A.)

Today is my "official" anniversary of my ministry here in Longview--although I was busy with the odds-and-ends of moving, setting up my office, getting to know people, etc. throughout the month of September, today is the day I officially began as the pastor of FCC.

...and after four weddings, four funerals, 44 Sunday sermons, and a whole boatload of church potlucks and coffee-drinking sessions, it has been one hell of a ride so far.

After living so nomadically that I switched dormitories (as a college student) or apartments once a year (save for 2010), renewing a lease as opposed to signing a new one was almost a foreign experience.

After having got such fly-by-night relocations down to pretty much a science, I would be loath to pick up and move somewhere else--across town or anywhere--just for the hell of it now.

After two full years of volunteer (in the case of my hospital chaplaincy internship) or part-time ministry (in the case of my ministry at FCC Concord), I am devoting myself--without care or concern--to the full-time work of trying (and sometimes failing) to build up God's kingdom.

After four years of religious studies in college and three more years of seminary, I am an agent of what I have learned; no longer only a passive recipient of knowledge, but someone who can give as well as receive.

As such an agent, I have...

Come up with both good ideas and bad ideas. Sometimes really, really bad ideas.

Both brought the house down and embarrassingly botched a sermon at a graveside service.

Been there for both peoples' births as Christians and deaths as earthly vessels.

Both pissed people off and brought people together.

Both proclaimed grace and demanded righteousness.

Made friends and found support networks.

Prayed. A lot.

Lived through both great pain and great contentment.

Worshiped in ways I never knew existed.

Loved God in ways I never imagined were possible.

This is a great job.

Yours in Christ,

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