This weekend marks one year since I was ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Being a pastor has become… is becoming a part of my identity. Like being a parent or artist being a pastor has claimed me, it makes me behave in awkward and strange ways; it makes me want to wrestle with the tension between what’s sacred and what’s secular; it makes me vulnerable and approachable to some, and scary to others.
This journey towards integrating ‘pastor’ as part of my being began long before my ordination and will continue long into the future. But on this particular day, March 20th, 2010, I gathered my families and friends, from old communities and new ones, together in one place and asked them to sing and pray and speak me into ordination. They stood and clapped and charged me and one another with doing the work of God in world.
In the face of the fear and terror being wrought in the world, in earthquake and missile, in nuclear plants and plans gone awry and in our own personal experiences of loss and longing I offer the following words of hope. We read this affirmation of faith from the Iona Community in Scotland at my ordination.
We believe that God is present
in the darkness before dawn;
In the waiting and uncertainty
where fear and courage join hands,
conflict and caring link arms,
and the sun rises over barbed wire.
We believe in a with-us God
who sits down in our midst
to share our humanity.
We affirm a faith
that takes us beyond the safe place:
into action, into vulnerability
and into the streets.
We commit ourselves to work for change
and put ourselves on the line;
to bear responsibility, take risks,
live powerfully and face humiliation;
to stand with those on the edge;
to choose life
and to be used by the Spirit
for God’s new community of hope.