When Isaac was little, we would withhold information from him. It’s not that we wouldn’t tell him eventually, it’s just that he would bug us if he knew things too soon. Maggie got a huge bonus from work one year and we decided that this was our one opportunity to take the kids to Disney World. What a mistake it was to tell Isaac ahead of time! For two months, he would wake up everyday and ask, “Is today the day?” Isaac was always ready for the adventure to come.
I’m a lot like that, too. I guess that is why I understood and empathized with him. Once I have a sense of what is going to happen, I’m ready. Let’s go! This may be the reason that my future ministry is revealed like the peeling of an onion (See Onion Peels on the Treadmill, Sept. 27, 2010). This impetuous desire to get on with the show may be why the Spirit has been slow to reveal things to me.
My Call, which I tried to talk myself out of, required God to be direct and clear. As I was traveling I-77 to meet with my Regional Minister to discuss my Call, I was quickly convincing myself that I’d made it all up. It was then that I heard a voice, not in my head nor through my ears, but a voice all the same. “I need you.” That was it and I knew my days of running from God’s call to ministry was over.
But I still didn’t know what form it would take. As I began seminary I was very adult about it. When asked what I thought my ministry would be like I would respond, “I’m just listening and praying to see where God leads me.” In June of this year, however, after much prayer I had a “Holy Spirit” moment. It was at communion that I received what I believe is a shove toward new church ministry in the Northwest, specifically Portland. One more peel of the onion fell to the floor.
Now, I’m not saying God made a mistake in revealing this glimpse of my direction. What I am saying is that at times I feel a lot like Isaac. I feel a lot like the boy with the blonde curls and brown eyes who would wake up each morning and ask, “Are we going to Disney World today?” I’m anxious--really anxious--for the adventure that God is calling me toward. I draw energy and perk up when I talk about it. I smile and am animated.
No, I’m not saying God made a mistake in revealing this glimpse of my direction. My adult brain knows there is much left to discern. There is much left to be revealed and there are preparations that need to be made. Maggie and I still have a house to be sold, our possessions to give away, and I have to finish seminary. But sometimes I wish I could just walk away from my fishing boat leaving all behind like Simon, Andrew and James (Mark 1:16-20). Sometimes I wish today were the day.
You are the blood
that flows through my veins.
You are the air
that connects me with others.
You are the arms of friends,
as we hug after time apart.
You are the calm,
that comes as my skin melts into my lover’s embrace.
God, you are the breeze,
which reliably and gently guides me forward.
You are the bird that chirps,
reminding me to find the joy in this moment.
God, you are the past, present, and future.
You are in all of creation if we but open our eyes and ears.
Help me to hear you,
and do your will in the now and the later.
Help me to see you,
in the green mountains of West Virginia,
and the snow capped peak of Mt. Hood.
Help me to see you,
in the eyes of those I’ve grown to love here,
and in the eyes of those who I’ve yet to meet there.
Help me to be your healing embrace,
for in a fragmented world as your loving realm unfolds.